I remember getting the free application to Ohio University. It sat on my dining room table until I finally got onto the common app and applied. While OU had a great English program, one of the best in the country, I had no intention to attend OU. High school was bad, and I wanted to move out of state and far away from the toxic town I was raised in.
I had plans of going to Boston. I had found a small liberal arts school in the heart of the city that I had deemed the place where I belonged. The best part? I got accepted.
Then the bills came.
My family is big. There were five other kids to put through college, and with my mother getting married soon, going in-state was the economical choice. While I was the one who chose to enroll at OU, I still felt defeated. All the people in my high school that said I would never make it were right. Ohio University had a reputation in Cincinnati for being the easiest college because of how big of a party community it had. OU was where the not-so-smart kids went. I felt as if all my dreams were crushed, but I held my head up as I graduated and packed up all my things to move to Athens. I was lucky to be able to go to college, and the English program was great at OU.
The semester started, and something magical happened. It started with this one English professor I had. He was knowledgeable and really cared about what he was teaching. He helped me with my writings and even helped me get a position in the school's literary magazine.
I made friends, I got an amazing roommate, I hiked the Ridges, I took classes that were challenging and interesting. I fell in love with every part of Athens. From Union Street Diner at 2 a.m. to the way the air smells after it rains, Ohio University became my home.
I found that Athens was just the place I needed to be. The place where I could thrive.
I'm writing this to all the people out there who think that they are not in the right place. New surprises are always around the corner, and the universe has a funny way of giving us just what we need.
Ohio University started as my "safety school." Now, it's my dream school. It's hOUme.