1.) Embrace the supernatural
Believe it or not, Ohio University is actually touted as one of the most haunted places in the country thanks to a place that students and ghost hunters, alike, have long been fascinated with. The Ridges. This mental institution, opened in the late 1800s and made infamous by its cruel treatment methods, has been the subject of Bobcat folklore for years its silhouette in the distance is especially creepy during the month of Athens’ famed Halloween block party. While sneaking onto its premises is not advised due to strict police enforcement, you owe it to yourself to take a tour of its spine tingling abandoned sections for a glimpse into the paranormal (or at least to have a really compelling story).
2.) Good books and Emiriti Park are meant to be
With such a vast campus, it’s easy for students to take advantage of the special places they pass by every day to and from class. Emiriti Park, located next to Baker University Center, is hard to miss with its beautiful flowers and fountains. Most will prefer to study in dormitories or the library, but take your studying outside and give yourself a change of pace.
There’s nowhere more uplifting to be on a sun soaked day in autumn or spring, and there’s just something about being by the water working that feels like the quintessential college experience. Ask any former student, and they’ll tell you they wish they’d spent more time enjoying the grounds.
3.) Find an alumnus during Homecoming Weekend
Every October, the University hosts homecoming festivities that include a jovial parade down Court Street. What’s so great about this weekend is seeing just how much passion former students many of whom travel from far away places have for this college; it reaffirms just how close knit the community here is. That’s why I encourage you to befriend at least one alumnus during this weekend.
Not only can they share their experiences to inspire your own, but you never know which Bobcat is going to be sitting across the table at your next interview. Connections and friendship go hand in hand. These bonds start during your academic years and last long after graduation, so take advantage of the networking opportunities.
4.) Appalachia was made for sledding
The campus’ steep terrain can prove treacherous during the winter months, but it can also prove quite fun when you’re not trying to rush off into the cold towards your next class. Jefferson Hill, one of the most intimidating inclines that students encounter on a daily basis, has become a snowy day tradition for students year after year when it comes to sledding. In fact, stories have long been traded about adventurous scholars using dining hall trays to zoom down its icy path.
Embrace your youthful side and make your way to the top the next time you see more than a few snowflakes drifting by the window. Lighthearted activities like these become some of your fondest recollections of the university. Remember this, novices: there’s no shame in starting half way down.
5.) A brick made of memories
This next tradition isn’t one administrators will openly condone, but it’s one that many turn their heads on as it’s been occurring for decades. Part of what visually gives Ohio University that sense of authenticity and heritage is its brick streets that seem impervious to time.
It’s become common practice for soon to be graduates to “borrow” one of these bricks as a keepsake for their academic pursuits. Where they end up is different for every Bobcat, but the custom has become a rite of passage in many ways for those moving onto the next great chapter of their lives.
Ryan James is a ’13 alumnus of Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in writing and media. He currently works as a copywriter for a Fortune 500 e-commerce corporation based in Columbus, OH.