How Firm Thy Friendship

Carmen Ohio.

What do those words mean to you? Does it mean you start warming up your vocal cords? Does it mean that you find the nearest Buckeye and throw your arms around their shoulder? Do you start to tear up a little bit?

To someone who graduated from The Ohio State University, all the above are probably true. I know it is for me. That song, no matter when or where I hear it, evokes one hell of an emotional response from me.

The chimes at the beginning remind me of my favorite place on Earth, Grand Lake St. Mary’s. Growing up, I would hear those bells play near my Grandparents cottage and it always made me feel so calm and happy.  Those chimes still have that effect on me. They also take on a new meaning when they are played after every Ohio State football game, perfectly leading into Carmen Ohio.

Singing that song with all of my best friends after a Buckeye football game reminds me how fortunate I am to have a degree from this great university. The degree means so much more than just the knowledge gained. The degree is a reminder of the amazing people I met and the great memories I made with them. It is an indication of the growth I went through as a person and a man during my time at Ohio State. The foundation of who I am as a man was forged in Cincinnati but the supports that stand on that foundation were built in Columbus by the friendships I made.

Living in Steeb with the “Steeb Six” gang and working at the front desk taught me that I had a lot to learn, and I mean A LOT….like not everyone is from Ohio (weird.) I jumped in Mirror lake for the first time with those guys and have stayed friends with them this whole time because when you freeze your butt off for the sake of beating that team up north, you bond rather quickly.

Joining Delta Tau Delta taught me more of what it means to be a man and it also introduced me to a unique brotherhood. Some of my best memories were made in that shelter on East 15th. I can’t really put into words what some of those guys mean to me.

Majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) meant staying up late and working our asses off in Baker Systems Engineering. It taught us all a valuable Woody Hayes lesson: “Anything easy ain’t worth a damn.”

That is why this weekend has taken on a whole new meaning to me as a post grad; it is a special time to reconvene with those friends who have helped shape me. Homecoming week was always awesome with so many events leading up to the game, including the Homecoming parade. I was even lucky enough to be in the parade one year! However, I was not on homecoming court but instead throwing WiredOut t-shirts to the crowd, which required much less hand waving. This weekend is about invoking those memories and simultaneously making new ones.

I think that seeing the people this weekend that helped shape who I am today will make this weekend just that much more special. I suppose this is my “But for Ohio State” moment. But for Ohio State, I would not be the man I am today nor would I have made these lifelong friendships.

The last stanza of Carmen Ohio resonates so much with me because of how true it is. Every time I see another friend that I met at Ohio State it reminds me that these friendships are not so easily breakable. They can survive moving across the country, or into enemy territory. They can survive the seasons and they can survive trying times.

Time and Change Will Surely Show

How Firm Thy Friendship