Don’t be afraid of missing out on campus life

By: John Merrell – Marketing

What will happen in 20 years when we come back for our respective reunions during alumni weekend?

Certainly the campus will have changed and expanded, and hopefully the Ghetto is still standing, but what will we talk about?

What long forgotten memories will surface from our college years, raised to light from the dusty corners of our collective consciousness by time-weathered, familiar faces?

I’m a fifth year who has experienced the UD lifestyle to its zenith. I think I speak for all when I say big events and certain people stick in your mind longer and more vividly than a typical day’s events. Excitement, fear and surprise cement certain moments into your memory for eternity.

For all you upperclassmen, do you remember the sheer joy of going out to the Ghetto as a first year and newness of it all? Sneaking into places you shouldn’t be, tripping into murky saloons and running out the back? How about your first Marycrest chicken bowl or shooting down Stuart Hill in the moonlight after new snow? It’s the first experiences that never leave you.

In my experience, you can exhaust all there is to do in the Ghetto in two years, three tops if you count living there as a must.

As a first year student, you find your bearings; as a sophomore, you should know your business and as a junior you start teaching the youngsters how things are done. For me, the weekends spent in the Ghetto started to blend together the further I ventured through school until it became a ball of good feelings and not necessarily individual memories.

You might remember a couple big weekends like our March Madness run last year or maybe some over-zealous police during a particular St. Patrick’s day, but in the grand scheme of things, Ghetto life stays in a similar groove every weekend.

This led me to crave change. It wasn’t that I didn’t love spending weekends on campus, but anything in excess is doomed to become banal.

I wanted to return to my roots, to get outdoors and to meet some new people, so I got involved in groups that offered weekend getaways and winter break trips.

This past weekend, I reaped the benefits of that decision when I decided to spend it with a group of lovable knuckleheads canoeing the upper St. James River in Virginia.

Four days on the water and three in the woods, I could not have been happier. We spent the days covering miles of river while huge rock faces loomed over us and an untouched forest of trees was beginning to burn with the colors of fall.

It was incredible. Even the rain couldn’t keep our spirits down as we were thrown over rapids by water clearer than glass.

I think some folks don’t want to leave the campus for fear of missing out on that one party or a purportedly good time at the bars; but there is so much more out there than you would believe.

It doesn’t have to be some outdoor adventure; it could be an overnight trip to Nashville, Tennessee or a volunteer trip to North Carolina.

Anything that gets you out of the 937 area code can do you a lot of good and teach you something new.