As Told By A Californian: The Ohio State University
In 2011, I said goodbye to my high school memories and welcomed the next stage of my life with open arms: four years of paying for school at a highly accredited university, only to spend more years looking for a job and finally becoming a functioning member of society.
Not only was I starting a new chapter in my life, but I also chose to attend The Ohio State University, a school halfway across the country from my home in Southern California. From the summer’s heat of California (or more like year-round heat) to Ohio’s wintery colds, here are a few lessons I’ve learned about the Buckeyes in the beautiful state of Ohio.
The first thing I realized about the Buckeye culture was that everyone on campus seemed to be “in the know” about OSU football. Before I get booed by any die-hard Buckeye fans, you have to understand that football isn’t as popular on the West Coast as other sports like basketball or baseball. Let’s Go Giants, am I right?
Anyway, I had to quickly brush up on everything I pretended to learn about football in high school P.E. just to fit in with my peers on game days. My friends taught me songs celebrating Ohio State and educated me about the huge rivalry with the state up north. Which apparently still sucks.
Going to my first actual football game felt like my first time at Disneyland.
The bright lights blinded me as I pushed my way through the entrance gate. People of all ages screaming names of players reminded me of the kids yelling the Disney characters’ names when they came out to sign autographs.
I sat dazzled and fascinated by the sport these people grew up loving. When the Buckeyes won, people hugged each other as if they were long lost relatives, separated at birth. What a truly incredible experience. While I still don’t completely understand the football rules, I can successfully say I’ve been to an actual game. Gotta start somewhere.
Aside from the football craze, I also discovered that Ohio is home to several companies spread across the country. I had no idea that famous franchise Wendy’s, home of my double-decker cheeseburger, started in Columbus, along with the Bath & Body lotions I wear to soothe my dry skin.
I discovered Victoria’s true secret when I found out she was born in Ohio, too. I can fly from place to place because of two brothers who experimented with aviation in Dayton, Ohio.
Everything important started in Ohio, including the introduction of hot dog concession stands at baseball games in 1900, thanks to fellow emigrated Ohioan, Harry M. Stevens. Check out the link in the photo to learn more about him!
It’s incredible how much started here in this tiny state. Thanks Ohio for all that you’ve done. You’re the real MVP.
My first years at The Ohio State University also required me to adjust myself to something California doesn’t have: weather. Living here, I get to experience all four seasons. If I’m unlucky, I experience them all in one day.
Though I survived the summer and the autumn flawlessly, only having to tame my humidity ridden bird’s nest of hair, my first winter revolutionized my definition of cold. My poor Californian body discovered the hard way that 50 degrees is not cold, it’s barbeque weather. Anything below 20 degrees hurts … but not as much as the phone call from my mom saying, “Is it cold there? It’s so hot here; we need to open the windows!”
If ever you come across someone from California, don’t ask them if they’ve seen snow. We’ve seen it. We have it. California DOES have snow! It’s just in the mountains. Where it belongs. Californians watch it from the valleys, wearing shorts and tank tops, while sipping fruity drinks in beach chairs next to the Hollywood sign. In any case, it took me four years to realize that I detest winter, but I’m glad to know everyone else in Ohio hates winter, too.
Finally, my favorite thing about THE Ohio State University is the strong family atmosphere. Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. It feels so good knowing that I can yell O-H in a crowd and get a hearty I-O in response. Because there are so many different colleges in California, there isn’t one team to root and cheer for like here in Ohio. There is no secret cheer and there definitely isn’t this idea of “Every Game is a Home Game.”
It’s very easy to spot bandwagoners in California, too! After winning the National Championship 2014—Go Bucks—my parents and I sported our Ohio State gear all over my hometown. One day someone yelled “Go Bucks” at us and we responded, yelling O-H! He was very confused. I guess you can’t do the O-H/I-O call and response in California. No one will know what to say back. Bandwagoners, I tell you. Unbelievable.
Interestingly, as soon as I went home for breaks, suddenly anyone and everyone I met had some connection to Ohio. My postman’s daughter attended Ohio State; my sister’s teacher at her university did her undergrad at Ohio State; the neighbors down the street fly an Ohio State flag. Buckeyes … they’re everywhere.
I always get asked why I came to Ohio State, especially since I’m from California. I may not know why I came, but I know I’m so glad I did. Though it was extremely hard to be away from my family for so long and I kept slipping on the stupid black ice during winter time, I never, to this day, regret my choice to come to Ohio State.
I’m proud to be a Buckeye. I’m proud to show off my scarlet and grey colors. I’m proud to be a part of the world’s craziest fan base. As the seasons pass and the years roll, about 50,000 of my peers and I will remember just how firm thy friendship—OHIO. Go Bucks!
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