College is great because (if campus life is hardy) there’s more stuff to do within a mile of you than there will be at any other point in your life. For example, off the top of my head I know that this week I have my pick of two competing Diwali celebrations, a Last Lecture, and a play. This is pretty awesome, and as a student you should take total advantage of whatever options you have for fun on campus.

That being said, it is really easy to fall into a campus bubble unless your campus is aggressively integrated into the urban landscape. This means that you can spend four years on a campus and not have a clue what’s happening right outside the comfort of your home. Isolating yourself, as easy as it is, is detrimental to your development as a student. If nothing else, it prevents you from making connections off campus that might lead to a job, and it makes it so that almost all of the people you interact with are near your age and privileged enough to go to college. This presents you with a skewed view of the world.

To avoid that, I recommend making a fun list. Think of ten things you want to do in your community before this year (or this semester) is finished. If you can’t think of anything, check out a tourist guide to your city from the library, or hit up Yelp reviews. If your town has an improv theater group, check it out. If there’s a zoo, take a date to look at some pandas. Hop on a bus (or hit up a friend with a car) and try a new coffee shop away from campus. Street festivals, old architecture, and parks can all be found with a minimum of fuss, and will present an entirely different side of your town to you.

Aside from being a great way to force yourself to do something other than homework, this really can help widen your view of what it means to live in your town. College–though great–is often pretty myopic. If it wasn’t, college students wouldn’t work themselves into panic attacks over their GPAs. It’s impossible not to get weird when everyone you know is in a pressure cooker all of the time. Moving out of that will remind you that a B is not the end of the world, and that pulling an all nighter isn’t cool or particularly healthy.

A lot of what we talk about on the site really comes down to a perspective shift, and if you can manage to pull that off while finding the best pizza in your new hometown, then you are in an enviably good position.

[Image courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.]