Grounds is really expansive, and simply going from class to class can require a decent amount of traveling. As a first year who lives in the Gooch-Dillard dorms, I promise you I have had to cover a long distance just to get to class or a dining hall. Most times, I choose walking as the way to get to places. While it may not be reasonable in every situation, I believe, if it is possible, walking is such an underrated option to get around Grounds. Walking may have its cons, but I am going to tell you why it can be such a wonderful aspect of being a student here. Hopefully, the next time you have to walk somewhere you can look at the experience in a more positive light because it can truly start off your day on the right foot — yes, even in the frigid cold.
- You discover new parts of Grounds
I have found that choosing walking as the way I get to my classes and other activities has been my secret to discovering hidden gems on Grounds. Walking literally slows down my pace of life and opens up room for exploration. By walking, I force myself to explore the areas and pathways that I would most likely ignore if I were taking another form of transportation. For example, I walked past Rice Hall so often on my way home that I discovered Einstein Bagels inside and how I could study there.
- You can see your favorite on-Grounds characters
Walking forces you to run into people you may never have purposely thought to meet up with. This could include orientation friends, a fellow club member or my personal favorite, a Grounds character that you may never have met but always see around Grounds. I genuinely look forward to my walk back to my dorm because every day is a new mystery as to who I may see and get to debrief my friends over. Next time you choose to walk, appreciate the familiar faces you get a chance to see thanks to walking.
- Your eyes get a screen break
After hours upon hours of staring at my phone, laptop or iPad, my eyes are usually begging me to look away. Still, it can be hard to take a break when everything important seems to revolve around technology. That is why I have found walking to be ideal because it forces me to get off technology for a relatively long amount of time while still feeling productive.
- Walking is a time to be with friends
In my experience, there are times when it is better to not walk alone for safety reasons — for example, you should not walk alone when it is dark or if you are in an unpopulated area. In that case, it is good to have a walking buddy, which can actually be a great excuse to catch up with a friend. I always love to figure out the walking paths of all of my friends at the start of a new semester to see who I can walk with to my different destinations. Walking with a friend can double as both a productive transportation and quality time with someone you care about.
- Save yourself from a Veo injury
To be fair, I have never actually tried to ride a Veo scooter, but I think after what I am about to tell you, you can understand why. About a month ago, I was shocked to hear my friend injured his wrist severely from a Veo accident. Then, within the same week, my professor injured her ankle from riding a Veo and came into class wearing a boot. While you may feel jealous as you see the Veo riders speed by you, in my opinion, you can be grateful walking is the safer option.
- Help you get in your daily steps
For me, walking is a severely underrated way to exercise, and, especially considering the size of Grounds, I definitely get in my daily steps just by walking throughout the day. I used to go to the gym to run on the treadmill, but, as my days have gotten busier, I do not have the time to prioritize that anymore. At first, I was disappointed in myself that I stopped going to the gym, but, to be honest, I feel like choosing to walk allows me to stay just as healthy as the gym does.
- Walking is always dependable
I have tried using the bus system and while it definitely is helpful and works, it is not as dependable as walking. Just last week, my friend and I missed the bus heading to the basketball game because the arrival time on the bus app was off by a few minutes. Instead of wasting our time trying to catch another bus, we thought we were much better off walking to the arena. You can always depend on yourself, and that is the beauty of walking, in my opinion.
- Guarantees you a breath of fresh air
I can not tell you the amount of times I have genuinely wondered if I spent any time outside that day. I am constantly spending more than enough quality time in classrooms, libraries, dining halls and my own dorm, which leaves me no time to even just get a breath of fresh air. Walking has solved this issue for me. I now always have a scheduled hang-out with nature even though as the weather turns colder I may want to shorten that hang-out time a bit…
- Provides longer time to call your grandma
Recently, I have enjoyed calling loved ones, especially my grandma, from home during my walks. It is perfect because I can still be looking around and paying attention to my surroundings while talking on the phone. Also, once I am in a building, I feel rude making any sort of calls, so when I am outside I try to take full advantage of the freedom to talk to the people I do not see often. You may not have realized it, but walking allows you the perfect time to make those calls, so next time you walk try to take advantage of the opportunities the experience provides.
- You may never get the chance again…
When I reflect on college so far, it feels so unique that I can do so much without ever needing a car. I can get to classes, go out to eat, and go to social events just by using my legs. Even the volunteering I do is at the Venable School, which I can walk to. It is most likely where I go and work after college will require a car, so I feel like I should take advantage of the fact I have the option to walk while I can. Next time you are in a situation where you have to walk, remember that walking is truly a quintessential part of the college experience.