College is very much defined by the things you participate in outside of your studies; your friends, your choices of activities, your jobs, if you choose to have one. As my college career comes to a close in my college career, the things that truly defined my experience here at CUA were the social aspects, especially how I filled my weekends.
I had never been to Washington, D.C., prior to my audition for the music school, and even then I only was in the city for two days. So I was pretty much a stranger in the city. Freshman year I heard a wise nugget of advice from a graduating senior. She said, “you will never see or do everything DC has to offer, it’s simply too full of opportunities; but gosh darn it, you have to try.” I took that to heart, and in the past four years I have found so many new favorites. Here are some of them.
- Eastern Market in the early morning: In DC there is a vibrant farmers market and craft market that come to life on the weekend in the neighborhood of Eastern Market. This neighborhood is close to the water and the Naval Barracks, so it is always bustling. I love to get there early and enjoy the various fruits and vegetables of the farmers’ stands. My all-time favorite stand is called “In a Pickle”. It is a man and his wife who make their own pickles in all sorts of flavors. They are pretty cheap, and serve as the root of my college-developed obsession with pickles.
- Walking the Mall: Even though this may seem like one of the most obvious of pastimes, it never ceases to entertain. My friends and I spice it up by going to the Mall at different times of the day. For instance, sometimes we bring a game and have a picnic, other times we sing show tunes down the dirt pathways under the light of the moon, sometimes we just pick one monument and sit on it talking for hours, and people watching. Whatever you do, it is never dull.
- Walking until you find something: This is something that DC is perfect for. Since DC is only about eight miles wide, the neighborhoods are packed close together, complete with hidden treasures. Most weekends my friends and I just pick a point to start with, and start wandering. There are so many metro stops, that we never worry about ending up somewhere without a way to get back. One walk took me down to the waterfront, amongst the bustling restaurants and Nationals Stadium. One led us to an adorable tea shop, which we now frequent often. Another walk brought us to a house packed full with books, or the many concerts and festivals we have stumbled upon. The best of my college weekend adventures have had zero planning involved.
These are my top three favorite off-campus activities, but there are plenty of things to do on campus. CUA sponsors cheap if not free events every weekend on Thursday-Saturday. They offer safe, friendly, and inexpensive ways to gather with old friends, and make new ones. I have participated in too many Friday Night House Events to count, and loved all of the neighborhood’s CU Saturday gatherings. Basically, whatever you decide to do with your weekend, CUA and DC offer more attractions than you could ever complete. I know that my graduation I will not complete everything I want to, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it my best shot.
– Eleanor Tynan