My brother, Matt, is a senior in high school. He just received his letter of acceptance to OWU a few weeks ago, and even though I know OWU is not his first (or second…) choice, I’ve decided to make a case for my school. This column is for him, but it is also for all prospective students questioning why they should come to a school that is chronically under construction.
Matt, as my brother, you pretty much know the cliff notes on everything that’s going on with me this year. You know that I’m over being in college. You know I’m frustrated the university is essentially cutting my department in half for the third year in a row.
But for as much as I have to complain about, I have a lot more to love about OWU that I want you to know. And in an effort to be as transparent as possible, I want to be explicitly clear about what OWU cannot give you.
OWU does not have a fancy film programs like the ones you are looking at in Boston College or NYU. James Franco will never teach any of your classes. You will not have access to expensive new equipment. You won’t be able to intern at a major production company and still live on campus.
Delaware, Ohio cannot offer you sushi delivery at midnight. You won’t be able to easily get from one place to the other via public transportation. There are no Broadway theaters. You won’t be seeing any political marches down Sandusky Street.
You will see a glaring poverty gap between students and the university employees who serve them lunch. You will see your friends fail after your first semester because even though OWU is easy to get into, it’s not easy to stay here. You will see every treadmill in Welch occupied because the weight room was cut in half for construction, so now all the bros are infiltrating the mostly-female gym and hogging all the cardio machines.
If you have a one-night stand, you will run into her the next day on the Jay. Guaranteed. If you send an angry email to your professors, you will most likely still have to take another class with them. You won’t be able to blow off your classes and sleep in. You won’t be able to get away with parking in the wrong spaces, and your car will get booted and you’ll have to pay $50 cash to get it off.
You will really hate it here sometimes. But most of the time, you will love it.
You will love it because you will have professors like Paul Kostyu, who even though you hate him because he is literally the hardest grader in history, you love him because he will do everything he can for you, from getting you internships to getting you new equipment to use. You will depend on him, and he will pull out all the stops for you.
You will love it because you will have advisers like Joan McLean, who will be able to take 150 percent of the credit for why you’re graduating on time. She will sit with you and talk about life for four hours at a time, give you hugs and wipe your tears.
You will love it because you will have friends that make your life so full, when things are right with them, things are right with the whole world. You will love it because even though you might hook up with some rando at Clancy’s and run into them everywhere, that person will eventually become your friend and you’ll be able to joke about all the dumb stuff that happened between you.
You will love it because social justice issues on campus are addressed publically by Chaplin Jon Powers. You will love it because when you email President Rock Jones, he will personally respond to you and schedule a time to meet with you. You will love it because your professors will play in a rock band at Roops Bar on Sunday nights. You will love it because the members of the SLU community will teach you about the kinds of people we never got to meet in our tiny cornfield town.
Matt, OWU will not look shiny and fancy until you after you graduate. But honestly? Who cares. The community here speaks for itself. For as much as I can complain about it, I love it. After a terrible high school experience, OWU brought me back to life. OWU is the reason I made the 10 best friends of my life. OWU is the reason I found confidence. OWU gave me the four best years yet.
You will succeed tremendously wherever you decide to go, but I hope you come here. Partly because it’s the best, and partly so I can come back and visit you.