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Hopefully by now you’re starting to get into a daily routine. Your alarm sounds at 9:20 and you get up to prepare for your 10am class.  You’re still struggling a bit with the whole “getting out of bed thing”, trust me we all are, but I promise it will get easier! After grabbing a yogurt or muffin and a cup of coffee from your favorite spot, you’re off to your first class and your day has begun.


Now that we’ve mastered this, or have tried to, it’s time to really get to know your college, as it continues to introduce itself to you. No matter which college or university you attend, it’s how you take advantage of the many opportunities that are available that will make your experience that much more rewarding.


There’s always such beauty and culture that exists no matter where you go to school.  From large festivals to a local diner or town craft fair, there are endless opportunities for students to explore in their college’s city or town. These inspiring aspects are deeply reflected within Tulane and the city of New Orleans which is one of the main reasons I chose to attend this school.


It’s important for everyone, every now and then, to shake up their routine by getting out and truly exploring the areas that surround their colleges. Students should engage with local residents, talk to them, learn from them. There’s so much insight they can offer, such as where to find the best restaurants, shops, and events.


Personally, during my move-in at Tulane, my family and I had breakfast at the famous Camellia’s Grill. As we sat around the traditional counter top and watched the chefs prepare our delicious meals, I introduced myself to a couple sitting nearby. They were an older married couple who had been traveling home to Texas, but made sure to stop in New Orleans on their way home. After having a conversation with them and learning about their love and passion for this city, our city, they had treated my whole family to their favorite ice cream: Blue Bell! (Which is now one of my favorites!)

Look for opportunities to become more involved. I have embraced New Orleans by giving back to those in need. Last month, my business class participated in Outreach Tulane. We visited a local underprivileged school that had just undertaken an effort to renovate its libraries so we all helped them label and organize hundreds of children’s books. It was an incredibly rewarding experience for me to be able to contribute.


There are other simple ways to explore college outside the classroom. At Audubon Park, hundreds of Tulane friends and families gather to observe the beautiful sunset, taking pictures and eating yummy snacks. This event is referred to as The Fly. It’s an experience that allowed me to meet people and get a first taste of one of the more beautiful and popular sites that will surround me for the next four years.


Walking along the banks of the Mississippi river, reflecting at the New Orleans Holocaust Memorial, taking in the historic sight of the steamboat Natchez, attending a Pelican game at the Smoothie King Center or just popping into a small local cafe, these are just a few of the many things that I have experienced  in the city that I’ve grown to love.

From a major city such as New Orleans, Louisiana, to a suburban city like Madison, Wisconsin or the rural mountains and gorges of Ithaca, New York, exploring the surrounding neighborhood of one’s college is what makes the years at yours more than a traditional education. It’s what makes your school your second home.


College can be so much more than classes, professors, assignments and studying. Step outside and truly appreciate everything your college world has to offer, beyond the campus walls.


Chelsea Buda Oceanside, NY Junior
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