Taking Advantage of What’s Beyond Campus

If you’re a freshman, chances are you’ve arrived in a location that’s new to you. This might mean being in a different part of the state, a different part of the country, or even halfway around the world. Of course, you might also be going to school in the same town in which you grew up, but even so – being in college gives you the chance to branch out in your typical social activities and see more of your town or city. Maybe you’re not a freshman. So how do you make sure you are utilizing all there is to offer off campus? First and foremost, the best thing you can do is ask around. If you’re a freshman you’re probably looking to make some new friends, and if you’re an upperclassman, you’ve probably established yourself pretty well in a particular group of people. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of different people who are a part of a lot of different social groups. For example, if you tend to hang out with people in sororities and fraternities, asking someone who is a member of an art club what they do might open you up to some new – and cultural – experiences. The best way to find these people, especially if you are new, is to join a lot of different organizations and groups. Even if you just go to the meet-and-greets at the beginning of the school year or stop by their booths if they have them, you can at least get some good information about what’s happening off campus. You’re under no obligation to go a second time! Another option is to take advantage of all that the internet has to offer. Using Yelp or similar sites, for example, offers a one stop shop that not only gives you suggestions on what to do, but rates them for you too! And if you don’t know what site to go to, usually a simple “things to do in _____” through Google will suffice. Lastly, you might want to consider exploring your new area on your own. This does come with a few caveats, however. Number one, this option isn’t for the shy. You’ll have to be adventurous and willing to step outside your comfort zone as you gain your bearings. You might have to stop and ask for directions, too. Of course, talking to people you meet along the way can actually be helpful in other respects too. You could learn about them, about the history of where you are (for example the owner of a coffee shop telling you about a cool story behind the café), and what they like to do in the area. Number two, this is only an option if you either have a car or live in a fairly walkable place. Either that or you’d have to take a cab into the walkable place (like taking a cab or riding the train from a suburb into the city of Chicago). Some nice middle ground might be getting together some friends – old or new – and commit to finding something new to do that weekend. As long as one of you has a car, you’re good to go!

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