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I Ditched the Car And Started Walking Two Miles to Campus: Here’s Why

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

When one of my roommates told me she had begun walking home from campus, I thought she was crazy. “We live so far from campus!” I told her, but the more I thought about it, I realized that it was definitely doable. When I looked it up on Google Maps and saw it was about two miles, I decided to try it for myself. 

I spontaneously chose to take this walk last week after my two-and-a-half-hour class. Being stuck in a cramped classroom for hours, with only a 10-minute break to stretch our legs had me feeling extra exhausted. After leaving class, I began to worry that I would get lost, or worse: someone I knew would see me walking. As I turned up my music, I realized that I didn’t care, and was actually really enjoying this time to myself. While I was walking I really got to organize my thoughts and plan my week. I find myself getting really overwhelmed with upcoming deadlines and having this time to think about what I need to do calmed me down. I felt really level-headed as I let myself think about anything (or nothing) to occupy the time. Of course, listening to the Jonas Brothers also helped pass the time. 

Walking has always been one of my favorite forms of exercise and making the decision to move off campus my junior year was a really stressful decision for me. Obviously getting my own room was super exciting, but I was just imagining myself not getting those steps from walking to class and felt like driving to campus every day would make me feel lazier. I found myself enjoying those walks to class from my dorm since it was dedicated “me time” where I could figure out a game plan for the week or process emotions I haven’t given myself time to feel. Last semester, I would go for walks around my neighborhood but it wouldn’t feel as good. It really felt like a chore and I could not figure out why. Walking from campus last week made it click: having a destination makes it way easier! It doesn’t feel like almost two miles when you can see a familiar street and know how close you are. 

Even though I was walking at a pretty slow pace, it only took me around 30 minutes to get home. It felt much shorter than that and I found myself eager to walk another day. Since then, I have been walking home any chance I get. I’ve even convinced my other roommates to try it out for themselves. As someone who struggles to fit working out into a busy week, this has become an essential part of my schedule since it is so convenient. Not only am I getting a workout in, but I am also organizing my schedule and clearing my mind (all while getting where I need to go). Studies show that walking has a ton of physical and mental benefits that include: decreasing stress and chronic pain. It has also helped me get to sleep earlier and feel well-rested in the morning. 

Thanks to my roommate, I have found a new love for walking and have found a realistic way to implement it into my routine. I look forward to spending my time outside and seeing the sunset on my walk. This routine also makes me feel less guilty about taking time for myself instead of focusing on upcoming assignments. I have noticed that I have felt significantly less stressed since I give myself time to plan my week out and do not have to cram. I think giving myself a destination has made walking a lot more enjoyable and highly recommend trying it to anyone who can. 

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Emma Larivee

U Mass Amherst '24

Emma is a Senior Communication major and Business minor at UMass, with an interest in Social Media Marketing. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, her two dogs, Mac and Daisy, and reading. She also loves to listen to music, specifically Harry Styles, the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift.