Canadian gets used to Ohio, but retains memories of his home country

Sara Williams

Cameron Rollheiser is a “very” kind of guy.

He’s very tall, very thin and has very black hair. Most of all, he’s very motivated. Rollheiser carries a distinct vision of himself and his future.

With slightly rumpled clothes and big rolling curls of hair, Rollheiser is nonetheless what one might expect of a college student.

Yet his rock solid certainty seems unusual for a 21-year-old.

For many newly legal drinkers, this is a hallmark year of spending as little time sober as possible. Not the case for Rollheiser, who attributes his levelheadedness to not being a big drinker and staying away from drugs. When he does go out, he prefers the Wild Goats Cafe in downtown Kent, where he occasionally enjoys a Chardonnay or an iced-wine when he can afford it.

Rollheiser doesn’t watch television, either. In fact, he doesn’t even have cable because he finds it “mindlessly brain-numbing.”

People might attribute pious living habits such as Rollheiser’s to being a goody-goody. But he insists he’s not. The standards in America are just much lower, he says. “Education is more strict in Canada. My C’s in Canada turned to A pluses here.”

Rollheiser was 15 years old when he came to Ohio from Brandon, Manitoba, a city in Canada. Only when you listen closely to the crispness of his words can the Canadian accent be heard.

The move, which came after his mother married an Ohioan, was an adjustment for both him and his younger sister. With his typical calm, however, Rollheiser took it in stride.

Certain memories of Canada, he said, have faded while others remain as crisp as the photographs he loves to take. Flax fields, a favored memory, when seen a half mile down the road remind him of the purple-blue of the ocean.

G.T’ing, a Canadian form of sled riding where the sled has a steering wheel and three skis, was also a favorite pastime.

Rollheiser said he still finds Ohio tolerable, however.

“It’s Ohio. You never really like it, you just get used to it,” he says with a grin.

He did get used to it — and now has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Kent State. And of course, he has a plan, which he says a job in Google’s software engineering department would adequately fulfill.

While in grad school, Rollheiser works for Kent State’s Information Services department. The job covers tuition and looks good on a resume, though it pays little, he says.

— Sara Williams