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Falling In Love With Your College Town

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

Nestled in the heart of sprawling mountains, my college town boasts an unmatched charm. However, I’d be lying if I said I felt this way when I first toured the school. I noticed more deer than people roaming the area and was frankly quite concerned about how my academic and social life would thrive in such a small town in the middle of nowhere. I have come to fall in love with the “Enchanted Mountains” of Allegany, New York- though it certainly took some adjusting. Here are eight tips to fall in love with your college town, and to make it that special place you feel drawn to return to years later.

  1. GET OUTSIDE

If you are attending college in a relatively small town, there’s a good chance you may be surrounded by nature. The correlation between time spent in nature and improved mental health is continually proven by science. Explore your town’s trails, paths, and nature preserves alone or with friends to more deeply appreciate the area that is now your home. My personal favorite activity: grab a blanket, speaker, and snacks, and sit outside with your friends and watch the sunset. 

  1. FESTIVALS AND MARKETS 

I am biased, but I am convinced that small towns boast the best local markets and festivals. Check out local farmer’s markets, craft shows, and festivals to explore the talents and culture of local artists. You may end up with a new tote bag, fresh produce, or better yet: new friends and connections. Your college town may even offer music events or concerts at free or discounted deals for students. 

  1. SPORTS

As a big sports fan myself, I knew I wanted a school that not only offered sports, but had a strong culture surrounding them. You do not need to attend a D1 school to appreciate the collegiate or local sports in your area. If your school is known for a particular sport, make it a point to go with your friends to games and tournaments. If your area does not offer any sports, you could host watch parties with your friends and neighbors for national teams. Some of my favorite memories of college thus far are sitting in a jam-packed dorm lounge with dozens of college kids watching football games and bonding over our love of Josh Allen and chicken wing dip (go Bills!) Even if you are not traditionally interested in sports or a team’s performance, the energy and thrill of watching a game with your friends cannot be beaten. Engaging in your school or town’s sports culture will undoubtedly create a stronger sense of community among your social circle and beyond. 

  1.  VOLUNTEER 

Volunteering on campus and in the surrounding community is one of the best ways to become more deeply connected to your college town. Most schools sponsor volunteer projects for their students, and also advertise when there are opportunities in the area. Check in with your school’s career center or community outreach to learn ways in which you can volunteer. If you feel that there is a lack of organized opportunities to volunteer, start your own! Talk to locals about causes they are passionate about and dive in. 

  1. EMBRACE THE SEASON! 

As a lifetime resident of the Northeastern United States, learning to love the relentless snow and unpredictable blizzards has been a part of my childhood. Perhaps you attend school on the West Coast. In this case, you could explore the beaches, surf, and partake in outdoor activities. If you are like me and live in a colder region, challenge yourself to see this not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity. Romanticize the frigid temperatures with a day of ice skating, sledding, or hot chocolate. 

  1. FOOD 

Need I say more? Nothing is as healing and unifying as delicious food. I have learned that some of the most remarkable meals come from underground, unknown restaurants in small towns. You’ll quickly learn what the local go-to spots are. Maybe it’s a pizza joint on Main Street or an eclectic coffee shop where students study. Use websites like Google and Yelp to discover your new favorite spot. 

  1. TRIVIA 

You don’t need to be a Ph.D. scholar to participate in some good old-fashioned trivia. Many local restaurants and bars will host trivia nights on a weekly basis. Form a team of friends and test your knowledge on a wide variety of topics. Most times, food and drinks, as well as prizes, are often part of the trivia experience. 

  1. GET INVOLVED! 

If you’re looking to bust boredom in your college town, look no further than the many organizations and clubs that your campus offers for students. There is sure to be a group that sparks your interest and hobbies. This is extremely beneficial for both personal and professional networking as well, as many of your long-term friends and mentors may come from communities of similar interests. 

Whether you attend school in the largest city or smallest rural town, there are countless ways to maximize your surroundings. If you are content within your environment and feel like an active member of the community, your college years will be undoubtedly more enjoyable and memorable. One day we will have bumper stickers, magnets, and mugs of our beloved college towns. For now, cherish each second in these magical places with the people around you.

Katie is a social media executive for Her Campus at St. Bonaventure University. Her experience with social media, advertising, and writing allow her to combine her passions and advance her university's chapter of HC. She has been a part of Her Campus since freshman year. It has been her favorite on-campus extracurricular to become involved with. Katie is a second-year student studying Strategic Communication and Marketing. She finds joy in being involved on campus through various organizations including Her Campus, Jandoli Women in Communication, and College Democrats. She is Vice President of SBU's Freshman Leadership Program. She is also a full-time student ambassador who enthusiastically leads tours for prospective students. (Request her as your tour guide!) In her free time, you can find Katie reading, hiking, and laughing with her friends. She loves spending time outdoors, especially in the fall. Her guilty pleasures are copious amounts of (iced) coffee and country music. Some of her favorite artists include Chris Stapleton, Fleetwood Mac, and Luke Combs. Katie will eagerly engage in any conversation about her beloved hometown, Buffalo, New York. She will likely attempt to convert you to become a Buffalo Bills fan, and could talk about Josh Allen for hours. Post-grad, Katie hopes to be using her creative talents towards a fulfilling career in the world of advertising.