Get off that couch and experience life in Athens

By Shelly Arcand, The Red & Black, Spring 1994

Athens is unique. It’s the only place I know where sofas belong in front yards, golf visors are worn at night, Waffle House has a waiting list, class notes can be bought downtown, and you can get a condom and a coke out of the same machine in your dorm.

UGA is about more than classes, it’s an experience that you’ll treasure your entire life. You know, I’m only beginning my third quarter at UGA and already it feels like home.

What is it about Athens that gets in your blood and intoxicates you with its sweet Southern comfort?

Maybe it’s the beauty of North campus and the way it feels to sit on its grass and halfway study before class. Or it could be that we’re all experiencing our first taste of freedom along with 25,000 other people our age…piling in a jeep with six of your friends and riding around town on a sunny afternoon… catching your favorite local band downtown and knowing day soon they’ll be famous…hanging out on the porches of Son’s and Steverino’s until sundown on Friday… spending more time trying to figure out the library than you do actually researching… making a futile attempt at catching a bus at the Tate Center at noon on a rainy day… trying at all costs to avoid the dreaded 7:50…occasionally getting the professor that tries to know you instead of just a number… scanning The Red & Black to see who got a DUI, and laughing at the guy who was arrested for singing Dixie in his underwear drunk on a roof… stopping and realizing when you’re out with your best friends that these are the people that will one day be in your wedding.

I never realized the truth in the t-shirt about Athens that says it’ll “get in your blood and stay forever.” Maybe it’s the football games – finding a date, dressing up, trying to stomach a Beam and Coke at 11am after a Friday night that began at Uptown happy hour, and recognizing that same excitement in the eyes of the alumni who keep coming back year after year, joining their old friends and reliving their time here at UGA.

Our time here is short; make the most of it. Don’t spend your spare time playing Sega on a couch. When your kids ask you what you got out of your college career, have a better answer than, “Well, I can play a mean game of electronic PGA Golf.”

Get to know Athens, the people in it, the best restaurants, the great places to go camping, hiking, and laying out. We’re only here four or five years (some people six or seven, if they know how to work their parents). Soon we’ll be making road trips TO Athens instead
of from it, joining OUR old college buddies: still dressing up for the games and still scanning the crowd for familiar faces. But you know what, by then we’ll be dressing differently and the familiar faces will be scarce. We’ll look over into that students section and remember when… when it was our time here and how quickly it came and went.

We’ll wonder about all those people we used to know; where are they now? Are they successful? What about that person I had a crush on, is he married or bald? Yes, we’ll lose touch with most people and names will be forgotten, but you’ll always have your close friends from UGA. You’ll write, talk on the phone, play bridge or poker on Tuesday nights and most of your conversations will begin with these two special words which will have the power to make you laugh or cry or simply smile – “remember when.”

Anti-Orange note: I clipped this article out of The Red & Black my junior year. I think this was the second best thing I ever read in The Red & Black. The best was the police report when the frat guy was arrested for singing “Dixie” on top of a roof at three in the morning.

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