Over the weekend, my boyfriend Jacob and I decided to treat ourselves to a little adventure with a hobby we’ve shared together over the past few years: geocaching. I’m careful not to give too much away to the “muggles” of the geocaching universe, but it’s much like treasure-hunting: follow a map, GPS, or compass to an exact location, and search for the goods. We decided we wanted to make our way from our hometown of Upper Sandusky to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Powell, stopping to hunt for geocaches along the way. Of course, there’s no way we would be skipping out on the treasures of the Marion campus – I attend The Ohio State University at Marion, while my boyfriend, Jacob, is a Marion Technical College graduate. Turns out, there are four geocaches waiting to be found on our favorite campus. We only found three, but it wasn’t the geocaches that made this day memorable for me.
I’m no researcher, but I’m willing to bet that the number one question asked to high school seniors is, “where have you decided to go to college?” It’s at least in the top five. In my experience, answering “The Ohio State University at Marion” was often followed by someone chiming in, “The Ohio State COMMUTiversity.” I was always told that commuting to my university would result in missing out on “the college experience.”
The college experience consists of so much more than living in a residence hall, and if Ohio State Marion has taught me anything, it’s that the college experience is what you make it. In my time here, I’ve learned how to research, speak a foreign language, think critically, appreciate the Earth, learn from the past, form connections with professors and peers, and discover myself as a student and as a human being.
The Marion campus is a homey, community-friendly one. It’s a place to take a walk on a Saturday afternoon, have a picnic with friends, or geocache out on the Prairie. It’s a place that reminds me to appreciate all the things I love about a small town, and all the people my university has connected me to, allowing me to pursue my dreams as an undergraduate and as an entrepreneur.
As I made my mark on the slip of paper left for me to discover on the Prairie, I couldn’t help but think about the mark Ohio State left on me. I couldn’t imagine my college experience turning out any better than it has. So here’s to you, current and future Buckeyes, because if the college experience is a quality education, a plethora of opportunities, and a journey of self-discovery, you’ve come to the right place.