The Happiest Place in the World


I truly feel bad about the level of distrust that automatically bubbles up when anyone says they went to Ohio University for a year or two, but I didn’t work out….. what didn’t work out? It’s the happiest place on the planet!! But in all honesty, Bobcats have a potentially unhealthy level of passion and enthusiasm about our Alma Mater. I received a world-class education as a proud student of our E. W. Scripps School of Journalism and met women and men that are my best friends to this day! Nothing could have made this Bobcat happier than receiving an email from my work-study boss from undergrad about coming to Athens for a week to help him with a research project. Not only did this man become a fantastic mentor to me over the years, he is who was at the hospital with me during kidney stones and the perfect partner in crime for countless hours of watching riot-inciting orchestral pieces and political discussions. He was my first experience with an “academic” and it was a world I have since been very interested and comfortable; philosophical, controversial, idealistic.

Combine this project and mentor with Athens, Ohio in all of its green, spring glory and I couldn’t have asked for a better last week of May! I recognize how lucky I am to still have friends in Athens 6 years after graduation and have Candice and Drew Rios-Wenmonth (Yes. They both took each others’ last names. Love!) to thank for the free couch to crash on and amazing Huckleberry kisses!

Casa Nueva, The Donkey, Avalanche Pizza…. all fabulous, local establishments that 27 year old Maranda appreciates much more than 20 year old Maranda did haha She was much more interested in Big Mamma’s, O’Betty’s and Goodfellas. Not to knock these places as they absolutely have their delicious place and saved me from deathly hangovers more times than I can count, but let’s just say without an (Athens) night of drinking I might make other choices. What hasn’t changed:

The feeling of home while still encouraging curiosity walking under the elms on College Green gives you

The genuine excitement and love that engulfs me every single time I turn the corner walking down Mill and see Big Blue. A part of my heart will always live down the hill at 55 Mill

That funky, silly, authentic part of yourself that comes out because of the feeling of acceptance that abounds there

The local, independent, groovy businesses that encourage the Athens pedestrian lifestyle

Speaking being a pedestrian, it’s still the much preferred route to trying to find parking Athens… even when the students have left for the summer! Thankfully Professor Thomas knows the one meter Uptown that is broken so I could park for free! It’s the little things 🙂


The research project I was helping with was super interesting. The potential impact of President Trump’s immigration policies and potential travel ban on higher education. If I have to be trapped in a basement office with no windows for hours at a time, at least I get to be helping the resistance and ensuring the intercultural knowledge and competences on our nations campuses. I love you Athens. You will always have my heart

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