Less Netflix, more mosh pits
This weekend, my friend Caleb and I took a day trip to Chicago. We ate vegan poutine, got a reading at a psychic shop we walked past and saw Watsky in concert. And I couldn’t help but wonder why I don’t do this more often.
I think there might be something about Allendale that kind of makes us feel trapped. There’s not much to do outside of the campus, and the bus ride out of here can feel kind of daunting, especially when it’s snowing.
But as college students, we’re supposed to be invested in making ourselves. We’re learning to do our careers, and that’s great. But we’re also supposed to go on missions of self-discovery, meet lots of new people and have some fun.
I hate to break it to you, but sitting in your dorm room watching Netflix won’t do this. You don’t want your college memories to consist solely of blurry nights writing papers and nights sitting at home scrolling on Facebook or Tumblr.
The reality is, we’re stupidly close to the city of Grand Rapids, which doesn’t suck as much as it seems like it does. I grew up close to the city, so for a long time I took it for granted. But a lot of stuff happens here. You just have to invest a little bit of time searching things out.
Check out some of the festivals and conventions in the city. Go to the websites for concert venues like The Intersection and The Pyramid Scheme and see if you’ve heard of any of the bands that are playing soon. Try shopping in Eastown instead of just going to the mall (again). And try eating somewhere in the city for once. (It’s usually about the same price as going to the Coney or Main Street.)
Also, go to events on campus. My interests and circle of friends got a lot more diverse once I started finding people to go to on-campus readings, plays and documentary screenings with me. You’ll never have this many different things begging you to attend them, usually for free. Take them up on it.
It’s not too difficult or expensive to get to Lansing, Detroit or Chicago from here, either. Go on a road trip. Haven’t you ever noticed that there are mainstays in coming of age novels and pretty shiny indie movies? There’s a reason. They’re transformative, fun and unifying. Find an excuse to get out there – a concert usually works really well – and then actually go.
And if you don’t think you have time for any of this, make time. Stop spending four hours procrastinating before writing a paper. Cut down on the amount of time you spend sitting around with the same group of friends drinking. Don’t neglect your social life simply because it’s easier to do so.
Even during finals week, try to get out of your apartment every once in a while. You’ll be a lot less likely to get depressed and start eating your hair. And let’s be real, you won’t remember whether you got an A- or a B+ on your marketing final.
Live a little. I give you permission.