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Ashley Quinones

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your College Town

Maybe it’s your first semester on campus or you just transferred to Penn State. You might still feel a little lost on where to go and what to do. Here are five things I learned my freshman year to make State College feel like home.

Get out of your room!

Okay, that may sound harsh but it’s true. College is not meant to be exclusively experienced from inside your dorm or apartment.

A strategy I started doing was not allowing myself to do homework and study in my dorm, unless it was absolutely necessary. I only went to my room to eat and sleep and forced myself to go other places to spend my free time. My friends and I even decided to meet up twice a week in a location that wasn’t someone’s room and study together.

I get it, your bed may seem extra comfy or you just need some “me” time, that’s okay. Just make sure you remember that a world exists outside those four walls.

Discover new places to eat

We are all aware that the dining hall food is at its best fine and at its worst… inedible.

This is the perfect excuse to leave campus and see what options downtown has to offer. There are so many different cuisine options, it’s impossible to not find at least one you like.

Going downtown doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to get a good meal, and as a fellow broke college student, isn’t that what is most important?

From Yallah Taco to Tadashi and Snap Pizza (my personal favorite), there are no shortage of options for whatever your budget may be.


When I say walk without knowing where you’re going, I don’t mean at 3 a.m. all by yourself. Be smart and deliberate with your choices if you decide to do this.

Maybe you’re done with your classes for the day and have nothing left on your schedule, or maybe you’re scrolling on Netflix and can’t decide what to watch. That free time could be spent exploring this beautiful campus and the town around it.

The best scenario is that you have an amazing time and discover a new favorite shop or quiet place to relax that you never would have noticed before. The worst scenario is you go outside, get some fresh air and then go back in, which never hurts!

CHeck your email

Truthfully, I found this tip to be the most useful my freshman year. I personally did well at staying on top of my email, but if you don’t this is your friendly reminder to start trying.

For Example, Penn State Today sends a daily email that includes a section titled “Things to Do at Penn State” which gives a list of events that are happening in the community. I’d read this and see if there was anything interesting my friends and I might want to do or see.

If the emails are going to come anyway, at least benefit from them.


This looks different for everyone. For some it could be joining a club where they can be around people who share the same interests. Or it could be going to a football game at Beaver Stadium to cheer as loud as you can.

Whatever it looks like for you, find it and enjoy yourself. We are only here for (hopefully) four years before we go off into the real world and have jobs and responsibilities.

Your experience in State College is what you make of it, so make it one that you look back on with fond memories and not one with regret of what you didn’t get to do.

Madison Mendez is a second-year student at Penn State majoring in Professional Photography. She is from Orlando, Florida and is obsessed with Billie Eilish, the beach, and baking.
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