Pick a day. Preferably a Friday or a Saturday.
Once you’ve picked out your day, you’re going to need to make me a promise. Promise me that you’ll read and follow me – it’s for your own good after all. We’re going to start our day by forgetting that we are college students. Homework, study groups, recitations, professors, and midterms no longer exist. We’re now simply ourselves, young adults eager to explore the world and have a bit of fun while we’re at it.
Because of this liberation, you’ll see the world a little differently. We’re not going to Union Square to get to UHall or Palladium, or even to our pesky Beginner Level II Spanish class. Why is only that level of Spanish on 13th Street anyway? Today, our trek to Union Square, made interesting because we’ve opened our eyes to the random homeless people we encounter, including that one crazy person who was singing ahead of us for about a block. Now be ready with your MetroCard, because our destination is the Uptown 4-5-6 line. Grab the first train that comes and hop in. Our first stop is 86th Street.
If you haven’t guessed yet, we’re going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once we get there, I’m going to give you some freedom, but remember, take pictures. Take a lot of pictures; you’ll cherish the memories later. Once you’ve explored your favorite exhibit, (Or done as I did – close my eyes and select a random wing. Explore said wing thoroughly) it’s time to head out – time for lunch perhaps? Pick a location you would otherwise never catch yourself in. And again, take pictures. Perhaps later, you might fancy turning it into a scrapbook?
Have we finished eating now? I ate at a small little European bistro café – something I’ve wanted to do for a while. What did you eat? Now that we’ve eaten, we’re going to head over to our next destination. Making our way slowly back downtown is the goal, but our next stop is Central Park. At Central Park, I’ve prepared a checklist – a scavenger hunt of sorts.
1. Find a talented musician and give him change; I know you have some left from lunch
2. Take a carriage ride. If you don’t want to pay, you can shadow a carriage and take pictures. Observe nature at its most innocent.
3. Find a body of water with nobody around it but you. Relax.
4. Sunbathe. Or look up at the clouds. Mull over your thoughts.
5. Find a quiet place – sing as loudly as you want. Take a picture of the sight.
Did you have as much fun today as I did? I’m sure by the time you complete this checklist, it’ll be quite late – almost time for dinner? I do hope you were smart and walked downtown rather than uptown all this time. The last part of our adventure is approaching, because it is now time to find a subway station we can take back to the NYU dorms. We’ll slowly adjust ourselves back into a dreary reality devoid of the spontaneity of stress-free freedom. I’m going to trust that you can figure out how to get back home – it is part instinct after all.
Go to a dining hall. It’s softer than heading straight back to your unkempt dorm, where binders, textbooks, and literature lay lined up, awaiting their completion. Our tasks can wait a little longer, so let’s listen to our stomachs first instead.
The sun’s set on both our day and liberty – we must now acknowledge the strings that come with college. As you trudge back to your dorm, don’t be quite so downcast, because underneath all of the tedious homework and tests, you know you can live in anticipation of another vacation. Don’t worry – the next time you can spare a few hours of freedom are what you have to look forward to. Such adventures are the true vacations of college kids. They compose some of the invaluable tidbits of life – a life that must be spent outside of simply studying.
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Observation/Reflection: After a raging illness, one that lasted approximately a week, I was ready to get out of the dorm building. I hadn’t attended class, and the cold, gusty days outside were but a story to me – I’d heard about the days, but hadn’t experienced them. So this weekend, I promised to myself that I was going to recuperate, and do it properly – by having some fun. I took the bus down Madison Avenue to the Metropolitan Museum, and after exploring the entire medieval wing, (which was indeed a random selection) I treated myself to food not from an NYU dining hall. The trip in Central Park was certainly very refreshing, because getting away from the strain of college was imperative. One of the things that I’ve noticed in my semester here is this: students here are often so immersed in their extracurricular activities and classes that they fail to step back, take a deep breath, and say to themselves: “Holy crap, I live in New York City now.” Because it’s when you allow yourself to enjoy your surroundings, free of both stress and guilt, that you realize just how endearing this island is. It has an immeasurable amount of crazy things one can do to relax and get away from college life, and we honestly need to take better advantage of the city. NYC isn’t just here for its nightlife, and clubbing should not be the only means of a retreat. So I treated myself to a genuine day of fun, and then went home later that night and studied, this assignment itself being a part of that productive evening. Nature is a truly invigorating inspiration, and my trip. But back on topic – How to Date a Brown Girl was one of the more blatantly humorous pieces we’ve read. But best of all – it “kept it real” and didn’t try to confuse our senses with flowery, verbose writing. Because of that, one was attached to the narrator, and found the story all the more compelling. This trait is present in very few pieces of writing, and is one that I hope to embody in as much of my future work as I can.