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What it means to be Polar Bear Strong

I dislike quite a few things about our school.

Honestly. There are some qualities of Ohio Northern that make me furious: murderous swans, how our school chooses to polish sidewalks instead of clear them and the fact the C-Store gets bleaker and emptier each time I visit it. 

I hate Pharmacy majors when they are studying, and therefore I hate myself just about 98% of the time. It drives me crazy when I eat chicken for more than one dinner at Mac a week, or when all of the printers seem to be broken. 

I am sent into a rage when I get a package notification at 4:15 p.m. And what is with this eternal winter that we are trapped in? COME ON, ELSA! 

At this point do I like anything at our school? There is something that keeps me going. Our Polar Bear community. It's what I love about our school. 

I could think about ICEPOCALYPSE 2014 (otherwise known as walking to class every day for the past month). I have watched, and perhaps laughed at, dozens of students struggle to keep on their feet walking to classes. 

What's important here is that I have also watched students run to the aide of their classmates, offer arms to those who have fallen, and describing safe paths to strangers so that those behind them do not fall victim to ice. Is it not amazing to feel like all these people have your back? 

On a similar topic, remember #PolarBearUp ? What I remember the most is the hours (yep…hours) that I spent on Twitter collectively complaining with students I had never met. 

I remember the faculty, who bought into the joke. I remember sitting after dinner, scrolling through the countless tweets, Facebook statuses and professor emails and feeling like I was a part of something bigger - a collective, sassy community.

And now we are faced with a more serious display of our community. One of our own is no longer with us. It is not really a matter of if you liked him, hated him, knew him or did not. Our community is one less, and that is a tragedy. And in this moment of incredible loss,  we must find strength in each other. We celebrate, we complain, we triumph and we mourn - but we do it together. We all share a common bond of being Polar Bears. In the moments after the recent tragedy, the outpouring of support and prayers was staggering. We should never let that obligation to our community, that feeling of being a part of something bigger, that need to take care of and respect our own, be forgotten. 

When you are a Polar Bear, you cannot be alone, as well. My thoughts and prayers join the collective outpouring of support, so that our community can recover from a terrible loss and respectfully remember our classmate.

This community can be shaken, but it cannot be broken. This is what I love at ONU and why I am proud to be a Polar Bear.

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