The road back: returning to Ohio from out of state

A student returns to Ohio University

A student returns to Ohio University after Winter Break. Photo by Carl Soder

Ohio University junior Yiru Kai is stuck at the Columbus airport. Trapped in the terminal by weather delays, Kai finds himself inside a weather-induced purgatory filled with duty-free shopping and fast food restaurants. Computer games and Skype help kill some time, but restlessness takes over and he takes to walking aimlessly around the airport.

“It sucked,” Kai said. “I couldn’t sleep. I walked around the whole airport.”

Kai is from the coastal city of Tianjin, China, and is one of the 11 percent of students at OU who live outside of Ohio. While his 22-hour travel time (excluding layovers) may be extreme, his tiresome return to school shows the troubles of commuting from out of state.

Although Kai is a seasoned traveler who routinely visits his sister in Norway, international flights can be quite maddening. Kai has experienced lost baggage and packages while traveling through London and New York, and has endured less than delectable food during his 13-hour flight from Chicago to Beijing.

“I can’t sleep on the plane,” Kai said. “The food is really bad. They always ask me ‘noodle or sandwich’. The noodles are worse than the sandwich, but people always choose the noodles. I can’t understand why.”

Traveling through the  U.S. can be inconvenient as well. Junior Kelley Scully, who resides in Verona, New Jersey, a town ten miles outside of New York City, has an eight-hour car ride to campus. Previously, Scully lived on campus in the dorms and did not have a car at school, so she was forced to arrange rides to Ohio University after landing at the Columbus airport through Newark. Now that she has a car at the university, the process is easier, except for the occasional stint of bad weather that left her frustrated during Thanksgiving break.

“It was awful! I could not see a thing,” Scully said. “I had to leave late because I had a presentation due. All the trucks were on the road, it was Thanksgiving [traffic] and there was heavy rain. It was more nerve racking than an actual danger,” Scully said.

Students who endure the trip to OU may be tired. Backsides might be sore from the long sedentary drive. Claustrophobia may kick in when jammed into a middle seat. Turbulence may occur. Weather may cause traffic delays. But the love of the school keeps them coming back, and they are more than happy they took the leap to OU.

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