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Proud to be a Viking

Why I'll be the first CSU graduate in my family

By Natalie Bryan
On May 2, 2012

  • The effects of the 'polar vortex' is shown outside the entrance to CSU's law school. Photo by Emily Scharf

Last week we heard about more riots at Kent State University during College Fest. As a person who has family who goes to Kent and has several Kent graduates - as well as close friends who also attend the university - I was intrigued. However, it was just a bunch of drunk morons throwing bricks and bottles at cops. Really, Kent? The police dispatched the SWAT team and dispersed the crowds with tear gas. Five videos resulted on Youtube, proudly displaying Ohioan idiocy for all the world to see.
I remember a couple of years ago, I was at a breast cancer benefit for one of my sister's best friends. Another friend of hers was there also, and she asked me where I was going to school. I was taking classes at Tri-C East at the time, and I explained to her my intention to transfer to Cleveland State University.
"CSU?" was her bemused response. "But Bryans go to Kent!"
Not this Bryan. Never mind the fact that I preferred an urban campus to a rural one (I was living in a rural area at the time). I wanted to go to CSU because I wanted to learn.
I'm not just talking about academics, either. CSU's campus is the most diverse in Ohio. I like to be around all kinds of people. In my opinion, next to books you learn the most from watching and observing human behavior in all its forms.
I sometimes visited friends at Kent and found the atmosphere was different. At CSU, if you walk into an elevator, you may run the risk of getting groped if you are a female, but you can always expect a friendly face and a pleasant exchange of words. I have had fairly detailed conversations with complete strangers on CSU's elevators, all of them friendly.
At Kent, I once smiled at two girls who were on an elevator with me and they looked at me like I had an extra head. I hated that. What crawled up their rear ends and died?
"Maybe it's a socio-economic thing," suggested a friend of mine who used to go to Kent. "A lot of people who go to CSU are a little less well off, from the inner city."
An interesting observation, but not completely true. I know some very well-off CSU students who hardly take their education for granted.
Kent is famous for long-ago riots protesting a long-ago war. Innocent people were slain, and their deaths became a rallying cry for peace and unity. Now Kent is a party school.
Is CSU a party school? Hardly. I still remember my first class here. It was Contemporary Social Welfare, and as I listened to the hardships that many of my fellow Social Work students endured and what they were willing to do to get their degrees and help people, I felt inspired and filled with purpose. I knew I was in the right place.
I'm a fairly unromantic person. I hate pep rallies and school spirit makes me roll my eyes, but I can say that while no university is perfect, I am proud to be a Viking.
I'm a Bryan, and I go to Cleveland State. Recognize.  

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