Athens Happens

Before coming to college, when I heard the phrase “Athens happens”, I had a very different idea of what those words were going to mean. But after one month and four doctors’ visits, I think I figured it out. 

As an incoming freshman, I started college with the mentality of trying new things and reinventing myself as an individual. They say you change a lot during your college years, so I was willing to test out that theory. I started the semester looking into various clubs, but never would I have thought I’d begin my hobby as an ultimate frisbee player. I ran cross country and track throughout high school, so this new sport provided a different outlet for exercise. I began meeting new friends throughout the club which spiraled into new experiences, among those being tearing my ACL. 

I have always injured myself while doing stupid activities such as rollerblading into the street, tripping over hurdles, or burning myself making pizza. But because I’ve never seriously hurt myself, I started to believe that I was invincible, and it would never happen to me.

That quickly changed after a wrong turn during practice, which led to searing pain in my leg. I couldn’t move my body without feeling its effects, and I was held captive in my dorm for days. I couldn’t make it to the dining halls, so my diet consisted of soup, crackers, and chocolate. 

As an extremely active person, I used to believe that my identity revolved around athletics, but once walking became a challenge, I began questioning how I viewed myself. Even though moving like an elderly person dampened my mood, I was determined to not let my health negatively alter my freshman year. 

Once I refocused my mindset, I began to appreciate the little things I used to so quickly brush over. I never would have known the difficulties of tying on a shoe without bending my knee, taking a shower with one leg, or sitting down at a table. I wouldn’t have met the hilarious accessibility drivers or my friend who broke her ankle. And with this new, slow lifestyle I’ve acquired, I’ve realized that as a person, my character isn’t based on what I do, but how I react to challenges.

Even though I need surgery in December and my knee occasionally gives out, this experience is one that I never would have gotten and has made me grateful that it’s only temporary. To me, the phrase “Athens happens” now resembles how quickly life can change and how you respond to new experiences.