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What kinds of things are there to do in your college town?

#college #campus

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Yekaterina’s Answer

Hi Karoline,

I think some important activities to focus on once you get to college are activities which will fulfill you. You will have plenty of time to hang out with friends, go to parties, go to class, study. But you should find something outside of school (but can be organized through school) which will bring you fulfillment.

For example:

- Join a service fraternity where the group regularly volunteers. I was part of a social sorority, and also a service fraternity. I made some really great friends with the service frat, doing volunteer activities such as helping out at soup kitchens, the ronald mcdonald house, etc.

- Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter, or horse stable. I wanted to help out at a local animal shelter my senior year, and they told me no because they needed someone who could commit a longer period of time and I was graduating. Often these volunteer places need to train you, which is an investment they don't take lightly. Look into this early.

- Find an activity that maybe you can do with your family which will help you involved in your college town, and also bring your family into your circle. This way you aren't just flying home every weekend, and unable to develop real relationships with your colleagues.

Good luck!
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Rachel’s Answer

Hello Karoline,

This largely depends on where you go to school, so you are going to find answers may vary.

For me, I went to Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. It is a small private university just 5 miles north of downtown Indianapolis. We had a lot of things available to us because we were so close to the city. There is our Newfields museum of art, the Indianapolis Zoo, children's museum, the Indianapolis canal walk, and more. To the campus's east is Broad Ripple and has many shops, restaurants, and bars with a few popular restaurant chains sprinkled around. Indianapolis also is home to the Monon trail (run/walk/bike), Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Victory Field, and the Keystone Fashion Mall. All of these and more are within 30 minutes of the campus and some of these places Butler offered off campus events at and included tickets and transportation to.

Other schools in the area that share these amenities are Marian University, University of Indianapolis, and Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Hope this helps!

Rachel
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Amber’s Answer

All college towns may vary a bit, but I can give you the perspective of at least two different towns: Corvallis, Oregon and Kent, Ohio. Here are some similarities:

Both areas will have an abundance of off-campus housing, with many of the nearby houses and apartment complexes geared towards bringing in college students. Some of these housing options will provide the first-month rent-free or provide small and more affordable options for the struggling, broke college student. I've seen many upperclassmen get houses with their buddies and the atmosphere of these houses can go a complete 180 depending on who lives there: In Corvallis, there was a senior known for chilling on the tiles of his roof.

I've found that these towns also combine the campus with downtown and its hard to find the separation, both blend in well to the surrounding areas. Off-campus food franchises are always close and abundant, with locally owned cafes and restaurants trying to poke their head out of the mix. This makes it extremely easy to walk off-campus and get the items you need at an affordable price instead of relying on the dreaded college bookstores that always drive the price up.

Both places had free bus transportation for college students so even if you couldn't walk right off-campus, there was plenty of things you could get to.

Things to do off-campus:

-Go on a food fieldtrip and try out the local (or not so local) cuisine! Find out what's the hotspot for chicken, pizza, burgers, and donuts! Find out where your local sheets is if you can, they're open almost all night! It's always great to get together and have a bite because your body naturally brings its guard down when your eating so its easier to get along with people.

-Find out when there are movie deals or what performances might be in town! Kent personally always has a Rocky Horror Picture Show that plays once a month throughout the fall semester. There are also plenty of student discounts at our local movie theaters.

-Go thrifting and try going to the local shops! You can always window shop and spread the word as well or donate to a cause. This ends up being a great fashion show for your friends and you may find that one statement piece you need for that one costume college party,

-Check out the hiking spots in the area and get to know your town's natural beauty. Enjoy the water and vegetation while getting some steps in. Apps that give you gift cards to food places when you get some steps in are also a plus as well.

On Campus:

-Kent State has over 400 clubs to join and you'll never be able to visit them all! A great idea is to go to student organization fairs and pick a top 3 to go try out. Some involve sports and some involve card games, but there's usually a place for everyone. I've found my main friend group through the mafia club and I've always wanted to try the ukelele club. You can also join the intramural sports, though they may cost a pretty penny. This way you can make a sport your hobby and get in your steps.

-Join greek life! This can be a regular sorority, fraternity, or a business fraternity! In my sorority I loved my sisters and we got to go on special trips such as a night trip to the local Cleveland Zoo where we got to go behind the scenes and pet rhinos! I'm also part of a business Fraternity Alpha Phi Omega! All these groups will connect with some kind of philanthropy which can be both rewarding, look good on a resume, and help fulfill service requirements.

-If you live on campus, you'll usually have events in your dorm hosted by your residence services. This can be from something small like an event for your floor to events for the whole residential hall area! They usually have a great social atmosphere and sometimes give out prizes and different competitions.

-Lastly, on-campus usually has additional educational opportunities from tutoring to lessons in Microsoft services. They may have a lecture on some special topic or have a required ALICE training but there's always some knowledge to be learned!

Amber recommends the following next steps:

Go to your college's website.
Search for an event calendar.
Check your college's social media sites for events.
Check your local newspapers.
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Jeanie’s Answer

Hey Karoline,

College towns will all have their own quirks, but what I personally loved about going to school in a college town is the sense of community you feel. I went to school in Amherst, MA and really enjoyed the time away from the city to focus on studies, explore western Massachusetts, and be surrounded by fellow peers/young people!

There were plenty of on-campus events to keep us busy year-round. RAs regularly hosted dorm events, which was a great way to meet others living in my building the first couple years of college. There were campus-wide events like football and hockey games, ice-skating on weekends during the winter, open-mike nights at student-run businesses, concerts, movie nights, craft nights, etc. Joining clubs and intramural sports teams were a great way to meet people, too. Intramural co-ed volleyball was fun as I got to play with my friends and get a bit competitive too! A club related to your major can help connect you with professionals in careers you're interested in; I got to hear from a lot of different accountants' experiences before and after I declared my major which really helped me figure out what I wanted to do after graduation.

On the more academic side, my school (as other colleges do) hosted career fairs, guest speakers, seminars, resume workshops, and interview-practice sessions. I found myself going to seminars/guest speaker events for topics not directly related to my major just to learn something new! Many major-oriented clubs allow you to attend events with speakers without being a formal member, which is another great way to explore and learn about what's out there. I would definitely take advantage of those events as much as you can during college! Amherst was a bit unique in that it is home to the Five College Consortium which allows students to freely take classes on any of the five campuses (UMass Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire College). It gave me the opportunity to take classes that I otherwise would not have had the chance to.

In terms of activities off-campus, downtown was within walking distance (there was also a shuttle bus system that was very convenient and free with a student ID card) so I had easy access to study spots and restaurants to eat at with friends. I found that switching up my study locations here and there definitely helped me feel energized - so I would recommend getting to know the areas near your college.

There will definitely be volunteering opportunities available that you can find. In Amherst, I worked at a local soup kitchen and also as a income tax preparer/volunteer for the community through my school's Accounting Department. Not only is regularly volunteering a good resume builder, you get to support good causes and meet new people!

In all, there are going to be a wide-range of activities out there in any college town. It's really up to you to seek out these opportunities, to find activities and people that resonate with you! With COVID, there definitely are going to be changes to the typical college town experience. With that being said, taking the initiative to join clubs and finding ways to actively participate in your community is even more important. Wish you the best of luck!
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