City Campus Life
A Freshman’s Honest Observations and Delights
I am a stranger in this city. Practically an insurgent to the Bostonian way of life, yet here I am, and Boston welcomes me and bundles of other college freshmen with open arms. It’s not that warm here but there is a coziness that is inherently New England air that cannot be breathed in anywhere else. We should remember that as we walk through the Common or explore Charles Street in all its delectable, cobblestone glory. Appreciate this city and its architecture; caress the idea that John Adams walked these avenues and relish in the plethora of historical richness that still lives within the buildings and sidewalks. Boston is a being unto itself, she breathes and has a heartbeat and as we pulse through her veins and roam her anatomy, remember the luckiness of who we are and where we live.
Within the beating Beantown heart is our school, Suffolk University, and as freshmen have surely noticed this is not the typical college campus. We do not live in “college fantasy land,” rather we are part of this city as much as the commuters and residents. We share this city in all its delights and its despairs. Though there is something to be said about our campus: how it differs immensely from a traditional college campus and how extraordinary this school is in its absolute uniqueness. However, the negatives need to be fairly pointed out as well.
When people initially asked me what I wanted my college to be like the only answer I had was “to be in a city!” Now, I am fully immersed into the epitome of a “college town.” But hold up, one of the observations I made in my short time here is that the city still accommodates daily life outside of college. Here, there is less of a sense of typical campus unification and it’s difficult to find people who also go to Suffolk. Of course there are facilities that solely belong to the university where there are Suffolk students, but the socialization is still vastly different. Personally, making friends here has been challenging and for the first time in my life I do not feel like my usual and sociable self. Though time and patience will eventually change these feelings and my constant confliction and turbulence will fall into ease eventually. It’s important to evaluate, not prematurely judge, but to be rationally observant of what you like and what you don’t. I do not like that everyone and everything seems so incoherent sometimes and I feel inexplicably lost. This campus is spread out and it can be difficult to function when feeling so overwhelmed. It seems that nothing is easy to access and everything is so far away, but there is a certain beauty to it. The bend of September is just around the corner and with a new season comes new opportunities for growth, friendship, and a new sense of home.
Despite the negatives about our campus living, the positive factors are pleasantly overpowering. Look outside your window; watch the city walkers, bus riders, runners, preachers, lovers, and all the wondrous diversity that thrive in this city. Never will there be the same group of people twice. There is always someone and something new. Discover Beacon Hill and Quincy Market. Stroll alone or with a friend, and to be honest there is never a problem being alone (except if it’s at night). Do not feel like you must always be with a clique of people but also don’t feel abandoned. People are out there and it’s largely your responsibility to go participate and be involved. Being on a traditional campus is almost like an oblivious high school, you’re still locked in but the walls are just further apart. “Ra-ra” campuses with the cult football following and unending greenery is beautiful…to some, yet for those of us who chose Suffolk we knew that we would be in the heart of Beacon Hill. There are endless choices from food, to attractions, to shopping centers, and the palpable richness of places like the Public Gardens or the Boston Commons. The opportunities flourishing here are ours for the taking; we can meet people outside of school and be the person that a traditional campus may have restricted us from becoming. The walks we take from class to class are always full of surprise that simply cannot be found anywhere else but downtown Boston. Enjoy every cobblestone and every aura you smell because there isn’t any college like this one, the gracious hostess to our higher education and liberation. From Sawyer to Donahue, Suffolk is truly a refreshing spring within a city of wintery boulevards.
I still question my place at Suffolk and among this city. I’m still new to the college lifestyle and my skepticism is still intact. However, I still soak in every moment that I’m here and remind myself how grateful I am to live here. So remember whatever you’re feeling, whether it be homesickness or happiness, appreciate your surroundings and take advantage of this school. Be aware of the resources here and make the most out of the possibilities that rest in the city limits. You are in control of your own life and responsible for your own happiness, so make Suffolk count and love the life you’re living whether it’s in a traditional campus or a in a city.