Before coming to Kalamazoo College this past fall, one of my biggest fears was the size of the school and how I would adapt to it. K is the same size as my high school, and by the end of four years in high school, I was beyond ready to leave. Coming to college, of course, was a new experience full of new people. But by the end of winter quarter, I felt pretty comfortable with my group of friends, alongside the group of students I would spend most of my academic schedule with (the history department is quite the little family). Most of the time, the size of K is completely manageable. But there are moments, specifically at the end of the quarter (around finals), when it seems like you only run into the people you would rather spend some time away from. Luckily, Kalamazoo does offer ways to escape the K bubble, and here are five!
1. Going out to dinner
There is something very relaxing about going to a real restaurant, interacting with people over the age of 22, perhaps seeing a baby or two. Kalamazoo has a ton of restaurants at a variety of prices and atmospheres, all worth exploring at some point. My friends and I usually go to Roadhouse, which is only a two-minute walk from campus. It’s an easy way to burst through the bubble, and it offers a quick way to avoid cafeteria food (caf food is great, I promise, but it can get boring). Other notable restaurants within walking distance of campus include Crow’s Nest, a breakfast all day café (best experienced late at night), and Olde Peninsula, which is a little more expensive but offers quite magnificent desserts.
For me, sometimes all I need to relax is a walk. Even walking through the neighborhoods behind campus can be enough to encourage a sense of calm. Students (or at least me) can get trapped in the library or in the lounges throughout the residence halls, studying our faces off and writing essays. Spending just fifteen minutes in the fresh air can serve to ground you and remind you that we can do this!!
3. Netflix binge
There’s nothing quite like the magic of the recognizable red screen when you’re feeling like avoiding the usual crowd. I would highly recommend Breaking Bad.
4. Changing your routine
Going to the cafeteria at a different time, finding a new favorite table at the library, or meeting a new friend are always helpful in breaking the rut of routine. By the end of ten weeks, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the workload, the research papers that are due Tenth Week, the preparations for exams, and preparing for the upcoming quarter. Mixing up your day-to-day routine can make the entire campus seem like a new world.
5. Embrace the smallness
Okay, this might be a little bit of a stretch, but go with me. Maybe the reason that K can feel small is because we let it feel small. If we, as students of Kalamazoo College, reach out to the people we don’t know or take risks in our academic lives or just join a new club, it will make our personal bubble that much bigger. And perhaps that’s a challenge that all K College students have to face.