Exploring Columbus with my Mentee

As a part of my experience as an Advocates for Communities and Education Scholar I participate in a second year capstone project to complete the program. As previously discussed on this page, I am mentoring a freshmen ACES scholar as they transition to OSU. My mentee, Payton, and I got together to explore Columbus and our interests on a cold evening in November.

When initialing being paired, Payton and I both spoke of our interests in fashion and sustainability. I thought that visiting a local thrift shop might be good for our “Explore Columbus” assignment. After speaking with Payton I knew just where to go!

In earlier conversations Payton had mentioned that her older sister who attends OSU loved to thrift shop in Columbus, but that she herself hadn’t had the chance to try it yet. Coming from a small hometown, Payton said that there were few second hand stores that she could shop at it. She said that she was excited to try thrifting in Columbus, but that she felt a little overwhelmed. I told her I would be happy to show her around as I have been living and thrifting in Columbus for going on six years.

We decided to go to the Goodwill on N High St, per my recommendation. The shop is one of the closest to campus, right off of the bus line, and cheaper than the stores in the Short North. Additionally, Payton hadn’t been to Old North Columbus yet. I know as a freshmen people told me a lot about Short North and German Village, but rarely spoke of the neighborhoods North of Campus. I though getting “out” and “up” could be helpful for Payton, and I was eager to chare my favorite Columbus neighborhood with her.

We met at the Ohio Union and crossed the street to the COTA stop in front of Midway. While at the bus stop we discussed what was new in Payton’s life and on the fifth floor of Smeeb. We waited in the cold until the number 2 bus finally arrived. It was Payton’s first time riding the city bus. Although it was a little unusual due to COVID-19 restrictions I explained to her how it worked and how simple it was to get around town using just your Buck-id. I did warn her of the frequency of delays and how quickly ETAs could change. On the ride we discussed Old North and the neighborhoods around campus. I pointed out the townhouse I am going to live in next year and we discussed off campus housing options, as there is a lot more choice and planning involved than underclassmen dorm housing.

After riding the bus up High Street we hopped off the Hudson stop, conveniently right in front of the Goodwill we were headed to. We hurried inside to get out of the late autumn cold. While there we wondered the aisles looking for someone else’s trash that was soon to be our new treasure. We thumbed through racks of clothes looking for the cutest, ugliest, and strangest things we could fine. We each found a top that we were happy to add to our wardrobe. After paying at the register we ventured back outside to wait for our bus. We rode the mile back to the Ohio Union where we had started our evening.

I think thrifting is a great way to explore a city. It’s cheap, accessible, and you can tell a lot about a community by the clothes and home goods they use and give away. The Goodwill in Old North is an excellent choice to shop at as it is right off of two bus lines and next to a lot of other Columbus hidden gems. Across the intersection is Jack and Benny’s, a fantastic breakfast spot serving classic diner cuisine. Up the the block is Ace of Cups, a really cool music venue in a converted bank. One of my favorite pizza places in the city, Hound Dogs, is just another block North.

I recommend a trip to Old North especially to Goodwill for other scholars that have an interest in clothes and/or secondhand shopping. It’s an excellent way to get out into the neighborhoods that students have the option to live in as juniors and seniors. Exploring the different neighborhoods around campus made the apartment hunting search easier for me because I really new what I was getting into. It’s never to early to start experiencing Columbus outside of the 43210.

The Goodwill on the Corner of Hudson Ave. and High St.

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