Eating, seeing, kissing and doing it all

Ben Wolford

Reading advice bores me, and writing it bores me even more. I started to write a few lines of wisdom, but it looked sappy coming from me.

So, as writing coaches often say, I’ll write about what I know. And all I know about Kent State is my experience since coming here in 2007. With that, you’re now reading my very first bare-all memoir.

In high school, I had a notion that college was largely about lounging in grassy, public areas under dogwood trees sipping espresso and reading Chomsky between conversations about love, death and epistemology.

I was kind of right. I’ve done something like that a few times. But mostly I spent my freshman year with the girlfriend I had from my last month or so of high school. I still haven’t decided whether that was good for me.

I went to the bathroom on my own, but that was pretty much it, and only because they don’t let me in the rooms that say “women.” We ate together, met up between classes, played on an intramural softball team together. I really liked her, so it was OK at the time, but I think I met fewer neat people than I would have with no girlfriend.

But I did meet one good friend, and next semester we’re going to study in England together. He’s the guy I can sit under a dogwood in my sweater vest talking about the meaning of life with. If only we were going to Oxford instead of the University of Leicester.

He was one of nine students (two dropped) in my Freshman Honors Colloquium course under the oral spell of Lewis Fried. Man, that guy could spew a lot of brilliance in two and a half hours. Ask him if he’s read something. If he doesn’t say yes (that’s rare), he’ll tell you the general story, the underlying themes and who was influenced by it.

There are a few handfuls of those professors on this campus. Find them. Chat them up. Get coffee with them. Have them write you recommendation letters. Walk to their office with them after class. I did those things with a few professors and graduate students, and it’s been rewarding to engage those great minds.

So when I broke up with my girlfriend last summer for a girl in Cincinnati, the world was my oyster. I started writing more stories for the Daily Kent Stater, covering Lester Lefton and his “cabinet” and doing well. I made all my newsroom friends – the best friends I’ve had since coming here.

Finally, I got tired of driving eight hours round trip to see a girl, so I quit doing that (actually, she dumped me). And I started dating one of my friends in the newsroom. Now we’re happily married.

Kidding. Not married. But it’s great having the same friends to go out on Thursday with, though I could do without her dog, Dublin, getting his hair on all my clothes.

There’s a lot to do and see and hear and kiss and eat and visit in Kent. Try to do it all.

OK, I said I wouldn’t preach. You’ll figure out Kent State on your own.

Contact forum editor Ben Wolford at [email protected].