I feel like I’ve been cheating on DePauw.
The other day, I purchased a sleek, red (almost IU crimson) “Georgia Dawgs” water bottle. It was a necessity to keep me from keeling over in the Athens, Georgia, heat and hills. My small aluminum bottle’s seal broke and it was time for desperate measures, meaning forking over a little over ten dollars for the sake of hydration and heat stroke prevention. But, part of me feels a little awkward carrying around the ode to the university whose campus I am working on for the summer. I’m not a dawg; I’m a tiger.
When I found out I was going to be working at the University of Georgia through the Duke TIP program, I was excited to get out of my college realm and see another school for a change. DePauw’s a small school and a small campus, and part of me has always wondered what it feels like to be a part of a large state school, bouncing from class to class on a sprawling campus with multiple colleges and a towering, magnificent, still-growing football stadium that says, “Hey! I have thousands of people willing to pay crazy prices just to say I saw the game here.” Or a large bookstore with thousands of titles and everything from shot glasses to diaper bags with the school’s name branded across the front. Restaurants and movie theaters, multiple libraries, basketball gymnasiums that could seat towns–I’ve seen all of these things on other campuses, but nothing I can claim on my own school’s campus.
So when I pulled into Athens this past Monday I was ready to get that taste of college life. Obviously, I will not be a student. In fact, this time around, I get to be one of the teachers, helping a group of young teens to learn about journalism and the media. But living in the dorm, eating the food, walking the grounds, living the culture–I was excited for all of it.
As the days progressed and I walked the hilly grounds in the sauna-esque heat, I realized that it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be. As I’ve maneuvered my way between the few buildings in which I’ve had to attend training sessions, live, and eat, I’ve found the allure wearing off with each drop of sweat. And next week, I get to tote a group of 15 kids along with me.
I miss the easy walks, the flat land, the monumental East College. I miss the quietness of the streets and the virtually non-existent car and foot traffic. I miss the lower levels of humidity. I may even miss the cornfields.
And even though there are plenty of bars here to cool off with a nice Blue Moon and enjoy the post-twenty-one life, DePauw has never looked better.