Along with most other people who grow up in the heart of suburbia, I firmly believe my town is the most boring town ever. I grew up in a neighborhood where all the streets are named after writers whose books I didn’t really understand — Faulkner, anyone? — and the most exciting activities are getting high on backyard swing sets and hopscotch on chalk-smeared driveways. Civil disobedience on Thoreau Street came most often in the form of biking without a helmet, and Emerson would have been highly underwhelmed by the “natural splendor” — a few trees that have yet to be cut down — of the road that bears his namesake.
I love home, but I’m incredibly excited to be spending this summer in Philadelphia because it makes the number of possible meaningful experiences infinitely higher. I know this has been written — countless variations on “get out of the Penn bubble!” and “try new things!” — but summer in the city presents innumerable opportunities, plus the elixir of sunlight and warm weather. In June alone, there is a music festival featuring acts like The Roots and Macklemore, a “Beer Week,” a food festival and a fine arts show, all in Philly and all easily accessible.
These experiences don’t have to be at festivals or large-scale events, of course — some of the most memorable moments are the ones you spend with your friends, falling in love with the city, or each other, or both. Summer is 12 weeks of limited responsibility and people who are just as willing to try new, potentially regrettable things as you are. Take advantage of this, and never be afraid to make some mistakes along the way — I subscribe to the philosophy that mistakes are just decisions that will one day grow into great stories.
So try to find time, between classes and jobs and refreshing Facebook over and over again waiting for something exciting to happen to someone else, to do something new. Go on a road trip. Extract yourself from Youtube tourism and see something beautiful in real life. Pick up a new hobby. Dare to try to be great, and then laugh it off when you’re terrible. Volunteer — there’s hardly anything more fulfilling than knowing you’ve made a difference. Have days you want to remember forever and nights you never want to think about again. And if you’re ever short on people who are just as willing to try new, potentially regrettable things as you are, hit me up.
Jennifer Yu is a College sophomore from Shrewsbury, Mass. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Up to Yu” runs biweekly during the summer.Comments powered by Disqus
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