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viewpoint

Off campus club

| Tuesday, October 14, 2014

As a senior, I’ve gotten the opportunity to explore so many of my interests, get involved in some great causes and meet new people through clubs and classes. With that, I’ve also been able to narrow down my focus. After signing up for every club at Activities Night freshman year and attending a different meeting each day of the week, I’ve pared down my club frenzy to concentrate on just a few things: my classes, my thesis and my job at The Observer.

Most of this narrowing of focus came from finding my passions, but the move off campus this year has certainly helped. Being away from LaFortune and the residence halls makes it a little more difficult to stay involved with on-campus happenings, and that’s okay. What I hadn’t anticipated, however, was a whole new extracurricular activity in my life: emerging adulthood.

Yes, it turns out that when you’re poised to graduate in the very-quickly-approaching 2015, and when you live in a house with all of its awesome, homey amenities, there’s an entirely new set of activities with which to involve yourself.

Take, for example, paying bills. It turns out that’s a whole thing. And when you no longer live a brisk walk away from the dining hall (which is, I now realize, one of the most beautiful places in the world), you have to learn to feed yourself. Every day! Who knew? From fixing a washer to joining a co-op to learning that bleach and Drano do not mix, off campus living is never dull, I promise you.

Please don’t think I’m complaining about my new after-school activities. Trying to be a real person has been both educational and a lot of fun. There’s applying for post-grad jobs, a thrilling extracurricular I just embarked on. I’ve learned to cook new things. I’ve explored and grown to love South Bend. I know what a credit score is. I bought a vacuum! And not to brag, but I can make shelving out of just about anything. While these things can’t exactly go on my résumé, I can see the value in them every day.

Of course, this is just the beginning, and I’m certainly not getting it all right on the first try. There has been missing paperwork, a broken down car and that Drano incident (don’t ask), but being able to make mistakes with so many supportive friends and the University just down the road has been a pretty unforgettable experience so far — and it’s only October.

Though I may have underestimated my involvement in the extracurricular activity that is living outside “the bubble,” and I’ll always look back fondly at my three years in a residence hall, I don’t regret joining the off-campus club. Now I’m just working on paying my dues.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

About Allie Tollaksen

Scene Editor. Senior studying Psychology and dabbling in everything else.

Contact Allie