Exploring Your College Town
by Lauren, our college blogger
Get to know your new "home" with these tips!
College isn't just about classes, parties and cafeteria food. For many freshmen, college is also their first time living away from home. As seniors in high school, students are often asked why they are attending the college of their choice. I remember many of my classmates saying they chose their future college because of the desirable city surroundings.
From San Francisco to Boston, my classmates went off not only to receive a higher education academically, but to receive a higher education on the world around them.
Many colleges are embracing their location, and immersing their students into it. I am a freshman in Chicago, and have been able to explore the exciting city around me thanks to the school's efforts. During the first week, there were many different events and service opportunities sponsored by the school. The events were free and the service opportunities were a great way to help the community in which we now live.
Another Chicago school, DePaul University, requires their freshmen to take a course first semester that challenges their students to discover the city. There are many different courses to take such as the gangsters of Chicago, the bakeries of Chicago and the Mexican neighborhoods of Chicago, to name a few.
If you are looking at schools in larger cities, keep in mind that most schools will make an effort to help ease your transition and help you love your new home!
Top Tips on Navigating Your New Life Away from Home:
Most colleges and universities offer students unlimited passes for public transportation (often called a U-Pass) for a small fee (which might be included in your university tuition and fees).
For Loyola University Chicago students, for example, these passes allow them to ride the El ( Chicago's elevated subway system) and the city buses.
Inquire about these types of passes during your school orientation sessions or ask your student life department about transportation pass options.
Events Near Campus:
You can find things to do off-campus if you look around at the bulletin boards and kiosks: there are many posters up around campus and in the community, promoting events.
In your dorm, Resident Assistants (RAs) might also put up large posters suggesting what to explore that month.
Many schools have their own clubs whose sole purpose is to provide service to the community —everything from tutoring to working in a soup kitchen. It's a great way to get to know people and the city around you!
Usually these groups meet once a week for a few hours at a time but keep in mind that commitment is really important because the service sites grow to depend on their volunteers.
So with all these new experiences and things to do, how do you get comfortable and adjust to a new city?
EXPLORE. Bring along some of your new friends to find what is around campus to keep you sane after hours of studying.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are lost, do not hesitate to ask a local where you are going.
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