When I was young traveling was something exciting to be able to literally wake up somewhere new. My parents did all the driving and carried me everywhere while I slept since I am the youngest of four. There are many trips I remember falling asleep in the back of the car or on the plane and waking up in a new place starting a new vacation in a new place. I grew up in a very fortunate family to have traveled to over 10 different Caribbean islands, the west coast, Canada and almost half the US. I would say as a child I was pretty accustomed to travel. We didn’t always fly, but we did go to a lot of different places. It was always my parents who did the navigating and decision-making and basically everything. The last time I traveled I visited Southern California with my cousins for a week, my favorite place on earth. That was the last time I traveled “semi” on my own, before my anxiety disorder developed.
Sophomore year of college I went through possibly one of the hardest years of my life. The internal struggle that I went through was beyond anything I could ever describe. That’s coming from a few other internal struggles, like a fairly severe case of bulimia in high school. My anxiety disorder had me to the point that I could barely leave my dorm when an attack happened, I couldn’t eat a thing, I dropped almost 30 pounds extremely fast, and my thoughts were ruling my life. I’ve overcome a lot of things when it comes to my anxiety disorder, such as my panic attacks. I can control them better and know what to do when the come on.
My point in talking about travel and my anxiety disorder is that I traveled to Virginia completely by myself this past weekend and to someone else that may be trivial, but to me that’s a huge accomplishment. I flew by myself, got a rental car, stayed in the hotel, worked all alone and even ate all by myself and I was fine. It was exciting again to travel and be on an airplane again and I did it all by myself. I did have a small panic attack on my way back to Ohio, but nothing like it was. Being able to do this trip on my own means more than anyone could probably ever understand because not many could understand what I went through that This trip to me was the first steps to me growing independent again. Growing out of my disorder and into a person again. A young, confident, intelligent, adventurous woman year.
The day that hundreds of Bobcats walked across the makeshift stage in the Convo on the day of graduation was the moment we started counting down to this weekend. Last May lots of Bobcats became alumni and homecoming weekend was what we had to look forward to now. For lots of universities homecoming is all about greek life and the reuniting of brothers and sisters, but Ohio University is different. Everyone comes back for homecoming. Lots of my friends who moved out of state after graduation instantly booked their first vacation to come home to Athens for this magestic weekend. From Boston to San Fransico and Washington D.C. to Chicago friends flew in to make sure they wouldn’t miss it. There isn’t really a way to explain how magical homecoming weekend is and to be able to experience it as an alumni made it so much better. I hadn’t been back to Athens since graduation so by the time I was able to leave work I was all but running for the door to hit the road. Homecoming literally is like Christmas morning and every student and alumni has patiently waited for Santa’s arrival all year long.
The moment I got to Athens my old roommates and I immediately left for the bars to begin our 48 hour of sleep deprivation, endless reminiscing, good friends and cheap drinks. Everywhere I turned I saw someone I knew and every person was just as thrilled to see me as I was to see them. All night out at the bars and one hour of sleep Friday night led to an early morning at the bar and a long day of drinking, bar hopping and friends. There really is no place like Athens on this planet. I’m sure every person argues that their school is the absolute best and they are much better than we are, but Bobcats are caring, friendly, compasstionate, and hard working people. Every one of my friends has worked hard to get where they are today and we take times like this past weekend to revel in that and relax. After a long week in the office it was great to say the usual Bobcat phrase of “work hard, play harder” and that’s exactly what we did.
I’m still sort of surprised I was able to stay up as late as I did and close out the bars to end yet another glorious homecoming, but I was able to take a moment and look back at the four years I spent at this university and be so proud of the place I was educated and who It has made me become. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the years that I spent there. The friends that I made are some of my truest friends I have ever had and will be my lifelong friends and have made such a big impact on my life. That university is one of the greatest things that has happened to me and I am beyond grateful for it and for the people who have become my good friends. There are so many more things I could say to show how proud I am to have graduated from Ohio University and to be able to spend a weekend back in Athens like homecoming, but nothing sums it up more than I am proud to be a Bobcat.