How To Get To Know A New Place

It’s been four months since I first came to UTM, and I think it’s safe to say that by now I know most of our campus pretty well. But UTM’s campus wasn’t the only place that was new to me in September; I didn’t know much about Mississauga or downtown Toronto, either. Now that I know UTM’s campus well, it’s time to explore more of the areas around it. How do you effectively explore a new place when you’re new, you’re busy with school, and it’s really cold out? Here’s what I’ve found to work best:

  1. Grab a buddy.  If you go to an event, you don’t have to worry about it being awkward or getting lost (or at least, not getting lost by yourself).  Going with someone ensures that you’ll actually do it instead of putting it off to be lazy.  The best part?  You and your friend will probably end up with lots of great memories after.  Trust me, every trip I’ve taken with one of my friends ended up being a crazy adventure with times when other people probably thought we were crazy for how much we were laughing.
  2. Make a bucket list! When I was trying to explore campus, another one of my friends and I would make a list of things to do.  This list could be places to see, like the pond near the principal’s house or the “dungeon” of Davis, or it may be specific tasks, like going to try something from every food place on campus.  We never actually wrote the list down, and we tried to keep reminding ourselves every time we met up about what we hadn’t yet crossed off the mental list.  That worked because our list only had a few things on it at a time, and we added to it as other things were completed.  If you’ve got a longer list, you should probably write it down.
  3. Set some dates and times. The bucket list worked for my friend and me because we would say “Oh, we still have to do ___.  Wanna do it after class Friday?” If that didn’t work out, we would reschedule.  If you actually pick a date and time, you’re more likely to actually do it.  If you don’t, chances are that you’ll forget about it.
  4. Look for events. Sometimes exploring is easier and less awkward when you have a purpose.  Keep your eyes open for events happening at times when you don’t have class (and hopefully your buddy won’t either).  With a very nice library on our campus, I probably wouldn’t have gone to see one of Mississauga’s public libraries if I hadn’t gone for one of their free science lectures in December.  The event gave me a reason to go to the library… and see a bit of the area around it on an adventure of trying to catch the right bus back while trying not to turn into a Popsicle.
  5. Get seriously excited and enjoy every moment.  Because if you don’t then what’s the point?

Well, what are you waiting for? You’re already on the internet, so go ahead and find some cool new places to explore! Maybe I’ll even see you around, taking my advice.

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