Stop missing out on new opportunities

I don’t want to sound like a Guilford College brochure, but we should take advantage of the opportunities the campus offers us. This isn’t an ad for Guilford. If anything, it’s an emergency message and a wake-up call because so many people, me included, miss out on amazing experiences just because we don’t bother to find them.

A friend of mine let me know,during spring of her senior year in the Early College that she had never seen the campus lake. This meant she had never visited the woods, attended a Guilford bonfire, seen the Underground Railroad tree, swung on the creaky swings or even spent a lazy afternoon watching the turtles and ducks swim around.

What could be more Guilford?

Some folks I had a group project with last semester, when I brought up the library location of the Greenleaf Coffee Co-op, informed me that they did not know you could get coffee in the library. One of them even told me he hadn’t heard of the Greenleaf.

More friends than I can name have told me that they do not want to visit the Learning Commons or the Counseling Center because they don’t want to seem helpless or they don’t think it will do them any good.

And don’t get me started on how many people have never attended a Community Senate meeting or sign up for club or service site emails only to miss the events and meetings.

I think we could use some advice.

“I’m going to let you in on a little secret,” said Agent Dale Cooper on the show Twin Peaks. “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen.”

For Cooper, the present that day was a fine cup of coffee. On this campus, there are infinite possibilities each day for what it can be.

I’m not coming to y’all from some lofty place of full involvement in every activity I’d like to do. But I think it’s time for us to take a look at all that we are doing and all that we could be doing. So here are a few of the best things on campus from my limited experiences.

The outdoors are my favorite place on this campus. Not enough people get to know the many trails in the woods, the starry sky above the Meadows by the farm or the anxiety-calming benefits of studying under a tree near Hege Library. When I used to watch shows and movies about college, there were always people on the quad tossing a disc, walking a dog or studying with friends.

On the beautiful days, consider trying that picturesque college experience. On the topic of wholesome places to go on campus, the Hut is a perfect place for hot cocoa and a warm fire during the winter, while the Greenleaf at the north side of Milner Hall is a perfect place to get a chai latte and do homework with friends.

The people here are incredible resources too, and they can make all the difference.

Every single employee on this campus has the job of somehow making life better for the community, so if you need help with something, always feel free to reach out. It could be as simple as getting to know the dining hall employees, so they’ll have your back for your food allergies.

It could be a visit to the Multicultural Education Department in King Hall to learn from the staff there or an appointment with the Counseling Center to talk about your stress. It could be an appointment with the Learning Commons or your adviser when your grades aren’t going the way you hoped they would, or just talking about life with anyone here, from community directors to the Bonner Center employees.

Classmates can also improve your life exponentially from my personal experience. Getting to know resident advisers and older students when you’re a new student can help you learn all the ins and outs of surviving student life. Building a solid support group — whether you’re the type of person whose friend group is made up of two people or every person you meet — makes the difference when times get tough.

There are dozens more campus tricks, secrets and resources I could go over, but the point is that we don’t spend enough time searching for them. Why is it that we get so used to the daily grind that we forget to branch out and find things that make our lives better?

Today, give yourself a present. It can be as small as finding the perfect new study spot, but do something for yourself. Try something new.