Recently I took my first trek home after five grueling weeks into my fall semester of junior year. I must say, it was much needed. After being gone for so long I start to miss the comfort of my home. To me, home is puppy kisses, meaningful conversation and meals made with love. I can’t exactly describe it, but it’s a place that’s so near and dear to my heart.
The challenge of finding a college during my senior year proved to be quite difficult. I didn’t know if I could ever call a new place “home.” Kent, Ohio had already permanently taken that title. Little did I realize that choosing Athens, a little town in southern Ohio would forever change me. I picked Ohio University, and that was one of the best decisions of my life.
I fell in love, and not with a boy, but with a town. Something about this college town started to feel like home. Maybe it was the beautiful bricks that lined every street, or maybe it was the liveliness of Court Street on any given night. I think, it was the people. Athens is what it is because of the people, and the University it is centered around. The people in Athens are overwhelmingly nice. We have this saying that Bobcats take care of other Bobcats. We’re a community and we won’t ever let anyone take that from us.
The pride we have for our town is evident on any Saturday as fans watch the football player’s tackle and the 110 march. We support each other through the high and the lows. We know how to celebrate anything from Halloween to Parents Weekend and we stand together, like when fire came and knocked away Union street businesses.
All of these things made this new place a home and I began to thrive. I started to explore my interests and join organizations. Through this, I made some of my very best friends. I began to realize it doesn’t matter where I am in this world, but whom I’m with. If good people surround you, any place can feel like home.
Athens is home to my friends and Kent is home to my family. I loved laughing with my family over the weekend and visiting the places I did regularly as a child. Nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the apple cider at Beckwith’s Orchard in Kent. I was able to take my dog for a walk and shop at Target for the first time in a month. Although, Athens has all of these it’s home to one of the biggest Halloween block parties and fest seasons in the nation and it’s where I found my future bridesmaids and love for Chaider.
So as I leave one home for another I can’t help but feel grateful for my time at both. I will always find time to go back to my roots. It’s where I learned who I wanted to be, and Athens taught me who I actually am. I learned it’s okay to go away from home, but to never be afraid to go back.
Libby Bradford is studying Strategic Communications with a minor in Marketing and is obtaining a social media certificate. Follow Libby on Twitter @libby_bradford