Erika Robles Araya is a recent graduate from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. She obtained a Bachelors of Arts degree in Business and is currently looking for a job or internship in the Greater New York Area. Erika enjoys watching films, learning new languages, cooking, and traveling the world! You can contact her at [email protected]
Getting into a routine is very easy! You go to classes, come back to your residence hall, chill with some friends, study hard for a bit (or hardly study!), exercise, eat, do some club projects, maybe go out to parties… and boom, when you realize you spend every week doing almost the same activities and you barely go off-campus. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but once you graduate and think back about where you went to college and the things you did, you will realize that you missed many opportunities to form new friendships, explore new places, and enjoy new experiences because you were always on campus, on a bubble! So, here are some tips that you can follow in order to break that bubble or at least expand it:
1. Take an off-campus class: Many institutions offer partnerships with universities close by or offer some classes at locations off-campus, take advantage of those opportunities and get to know new environments. My College for instance, offered rock climbing or horse back riding classes at local venues specialized on those areas.
2. Volunteer: If you have a passion for helping people, environmental campaigns, or just want to give back a little to the place where you live, volunteering can be one of the best elements to use in order to break your bubble. You can volunteer by joining on-campus organizations that work in off-campus locations, or you can do you own search with sites such as volunteermatch.com and the Red Cross. You will not only feel good about yourself, but you will also gain a variety of experiences for life and hey, volunteer work can be added to your resume!
3. Go to church: Most campuses offer a Spiritual Center that have tons of information regarding local churches, synagogues, or other centers that can help with your search for spiritual growth. It is a great opportunity to explore your own faith and traditions as well as learn from the faith traditions of others. If you do not have a ride, try asking the same Spiritual Center, they can usually connect you with local members that would be more than willing and happy to offer transportation for you and that is definitely an opportunity to make a new friend.
4. Local events: There is no excuse for this one because even the smallest town on the planet have some kind of festivity that they organize every year. If your town is big enough or you are in a city the likelihood of having a website with a calendar of local activities is very big, so just do a bit of research (Hello google!) and you will be able to enjoy street fairs, concerts, free classes, poem readings, free museum tickets, etc. Bonus points: invite some of your friends and have tons of fun.
5. Use your resources: Have you tried visiting your local library? It might be a walk away, but when your campus library is full of stressful college students preparing for exams and there is no place to where even put your books, your local library could become heaven to you. Hey, maybe they also have some events, classes, or open volunteer opportunities for you!
6. Are you the local? Invite some friends to go with you to your favorite cafes, parks, restaurants, and other venues. Great way to stay connected to the places you love and strengthen your friendships. If you are not the local, ask you local friends for recommendations.
7. Get a part-time job: If you have time and you are able to work off-campus consider getting a part-time job. It is perfect for building your resume and network, you will have some extra pocket money for your expenses, and you will get skills that might help you to get a full-time job in the future.
Do not stay on campus all the time, get out there once in a while. You definitely will not regret taking into consideration some of the suggestions above. Be creative too, you might find a better option in order to break the bubble!