the speech you never | got | to | hear

129 weeks. 903 Days. That’s all it took.

For some it was a few more. For some, a few less.

But either way, it didn’t take long. We didn’t expect it, although they warned us it would happen. They warned us if we stayed for summers it would make it worse. They said it wouldn’t take long, the time would fly by. The more Homecomings, nights on Court Street, lazy Sundays, Section Eight Concerts, Karaoke nights, afternoons on the Green, Boyd Brunches, and clubs you join the harder you’ll fall.

Perhaps it was the moment we realized we would rather stay in this little town over extended weekends than go back to our hometown. Or maybe it happened when you realized you met your soulmates here, whether romantic or platonic. Or, for many of us, it could be hitting you like a ton of Athens Block bricks as you realize there will be a day when we leave it all behind.

But no matter whether it was at-first-sight or friends-first, we fell in love.

Deep, unwavering, let-you-have-the-last-pink-starburst kind of love.

It’s a love that changes the scope of your life and the shape it will take. It leads us on a journey we didn’t foresee but had always hoped for. And for us, a journey that has lead us here today beside the ones who prepared us for the love we have in our hearts.

We have fallen in love with Ohio University. Yes, the bricks are magical. Of course College Green looks like a scene God created by hand. The cherry blossoms look like they’ve been plucked from a post card and placed around campus. And although we may have decided to attend Ohio University because of the views, they aren’t the reason we fell in love here. They aren’t the reason our heart is aching at the thought of leaving | our | home | behind.

What will we do when we don’t have Wings Over and their free delivery? Or Bagel Street Deli to cure the aftermath of the hot nuts? 24/7 access to Union Street Diner? The thought of a morning without a Casa bloody mary is a morning I don’t want to face. We fell in love with the endless variety of affordable, ethnic, sometimes bizarre cuisine. I can picture the look on the face of subway employees now when I walk up and say “I’d like a Kevorkian with sprouts and a morning after on pretzel please.”

Another reason we fell in love with Athens is our student organizations. They truly became the family we chose for ourselves. They helped us grow, prepare, and be the people we are today. Our families raised us, our organizations prepared us. There will never be a day we don’t hear PRSSA, SAB, Section 8, Alpha Gam, or BobcaThon and not smile. I can confidently say I wouldn’t be the human being I am without SAB. Each and every person in our student organizations taught us a critical lesson, shared an unforgettable memory with you, and made you proud to represent that organization on campus.

But one of the undeniable reasons we fell in love was Bobcat Pride. What would we do if we didn’t have football games to go to with our brand new friends opening weekend freshman year? Or should I say Marching 110 performances to attend? It’s the pride in our heart that each bobcat carries no matter how old or young. It’s what makes Homecoming the most magical day of the year.

But maybe it isn’t just the food, or the student organizations or the bobcat pride we’ll miss.

Answer these questions:

Who did you order Wings Over with?

Who did you pile in the car with when you were craving USD?

Who did you re-live your Friday night with at Casa?

Who did you meet in PRSSA or Alpha Phi Omega?

Whose hand did you hold (or drag) to the homecoming parade?

Your answers are the true reasons why we fell in love with this place. When you think about it, it’s the memories we made in between the hot nuts and black widows and the friendships we cheers’d to that we’ll miss. And the memories we made at 2:15am in line at O’Betty’s or Big Mama’s. It’s the people who held your hand when your heart was broken, brought you ice cream when you were homesick, felt your anxiety over post-grad plans, were there for you through the loss of loved ones, laughed with you over your silly mistakes. It’s the people who may be sitting next to you at    this    very    moment.

When it all comes down to it, we’ll miss the food, the affordable drinks, the pride, the campus and our beloved Student Alumni Board. But what we’ll miss the most isn’t going anywhere at all. The friendships we made the past few years are the heart of why we fell in love with Ohio University. The people we have met here will always be a part of our lives. We will carry the memories in our hearts forever. But the people will always be there. They will become our bridesmaids, groomsmen, our kids’ godmothers and godfathers, and the people we still call when we’re homesick from Athens.

We fell in love. Deep, unwavering, let you eat the last pink starburst kind of love. But our love as bobcats will be something we carry with us for the rest of our lives. Our journey as bobcats is just beginning.

Students THEN | Alumni NOW | Bobcats FOREVER.

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