Top 5 Things You MUST Do In College Pt. 2: Know Your College Town Beyond The Pub Crawl

The following is the second of a five-part series I’m calling “The Top 5 Things You MUST Do In College.” Everyone’s already heard about buying flip-flops for the shower, stocking up on veggies to avoid the Freshman 15, and to steer clear of mojitos before midterms, but there are other tips for enjoying college that the experts might have neglected to tell you about.
This series is meant to provide advice for getting the most out of college, rather than just getting through it. So far we’ve already discussed having a professor as a BFF, and now we’re going to explore the college town…beyond the pub crawl!]
College is a learning experience that extends outside classroom walls. You’re not just amassing knowledge from textbooks, but learning how to manage your time and live on your own. It sounds corny, but it’s true. And one aspect of learning at college that many tend to overlook is learning about your surroundings: your college town.
You may know the basic landmarks (the freshman bar, the frat bar, the upperclassmen bar, the jock bar), but if your only contribution to the local economy is your weekend drinking cash, you could be missing out on much, much more. Whether you go to a small college tucked away in the hills, or a major university in an urban jungle, there is sure to be something exceptional about the land just off campus.
If you go to a rural or secluded school, see if there are any local harvest-your-own farms. Is there apple picking nearby? Or perhaps a place to pick up fresh corn or milk? You might never be able to boast about having such fresh food again! Maybe there’s a lake not too far away for swimming (or skating, in the winter). Take a few friends out for a pick-up hockey game to mix things up on a Saturday afternoon. The best thing about these activities is that they’re either dirt cheap, or free.
If you go to a suburban or small-town school, see if there are any pick-up or recreational sports leagues in the area. It’s a great way to get in touch with local culture, especially if you want to start establishing yourself outside of school. If you’re a runner or cyclist, see if there are any races being run in the area. Are there any museums or historical landmarks nearby? Stop by the town hall to find out. Perhaps there are local music or art festivals held annually where you might be able to pick up some original wall hangings or discover a new band or two.
If you go to an urban, big-city school, the possibilities are really endless. You probably have access to public transportation and major centers of culture and commerce. Take advantage! Not everyone gets the chance to say they’ve lived in New York/Boston/DC/LA/Chicago etc., so take the time to get the know the city like a native. Do they film television shows or movies in your city? See if you can sign up for a filming! Furthermore, see if your school has an internship program and try to get some work experience in the city. Chances are, you could be connected to your dream job with all the networking possibilities in your area.
If you take the time to get to know your area, you’ll become a more cultured and interesting person–traits that are extremely handy when it comes time for job interviews. When they ask, “when was the last time you tried something new?” you’ll be all ready to supply them with the story about the time you chartered a bike tour in the mountains near campus. But even more importantly, everyone reaches a point where going to the same bars every weekend just doesn’t cut it anymore. By discovering what’s up in your new neighborhood, you’ll learn how to entertain and sustain yourself. Isn’t that what college is all about?
[Come back to find out the next must-do on my list: Join a Club You Never Thought You Would.]

The Love List:  Stuff White People Like and Stuff I Like.
The Love List: Stuff White People Like and Stuff I Like.
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