College Students, I Urge You, DON'T Spend 4 Years Confined To Your Campus

College Students, I Urge You, DON'T Spend 4 Years Confined To Your Campus

Your community has more to offer than just your college campus.

Many college students have the tendency to never branch out beyond the limits of their college campus all four years that they are in college. We think that the community revolves around our college, so why in the world would we ever need to leave when everything we need is right on campus?

In my opinion, this is such a big mistake, and I think that it can make or break a student's college experience.

Now, you might be thinking, "I live off campus/ I am moving off campus next year, so of course, this article isn't talking about me. Not true. If you're living off campus, chances are, you are living with other college students from the same college, and you'll simply be commuting to and from campus every day. So, this is not the kind of branching out I'm talking about.

College campuses can sometimes tend to be a sort of "bubble." The college can provide for pretty much any need a student might have, and there is a multitude of organizations to become involved in right on campus. Many students become so wrapped up in college life that we forget we are living in a place where real people and families also live, and it isn't all about the college students in the area.

By breaking out of the college campus "bubble," I mean that the real people living in the surrounding areas are worth meeting. There are great organizations (not affiliated with a college) that are worth learning about, getting involved in, and supporting. There are events that are worth attending. There are local businesses that you should patronize - and no, going off campus to get Chipotle doesn't count. These people and places want to know students like you, and many of them would probably appreciate what you have to offer.

Chances are, there are organizations right on your campus that allow students to become involved in the community and branch out beyond the college life.

Of course, it is very important to meet fellow college students and get involved on your own campus, as meeting new people and making memories with them is one of the best parts of college. However, if you never explore anything outside of your college campus, you will be missing out on so much that your community has to offer.

It took me a while to realize this myself, but I am so glad I did, because I've learned that Harrisonburg does not revolve solely around JMU, and there is so much more here than I ever would've realized if I hadn't reached out to look for it.

So, I want to challenge you. Do some research, find out about local businesses that you want to visit, and reach out to organizations that support causes that are important to you. I can almost guarantee that if you do, you'll be refreshed by the time that you spend away from campus, and you'll develop amazing friendships with individuals that you never would've thought you'd meet during your time at college. You may even appreciate where you are more than ever before.

Cover Image Credit: James Madison University / Instagram

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.


Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.


A girl who is sad to go

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?


Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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