5 People You Need in Your Life During College: Dora the Explorer

I am terribly unadventurous. As much as I’d like to be, I really am not adventurous at all. I’m a very Type A thinker, and so any decision that is considered must go through a battery of questions: Is it safe? Will it be fun? Will it actually be fun? Who else is doing it? What will people think if I do it? What are the pros of doing it? The cons? Will it make my butt look big?

In all seriousness, this is how I make decisions regarding what I choose to do with my time: carefully and methodically. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I never leave my house or that I don’t do anything fun. I do both. It just means that when it comes to things that are outside of my comfort zone, I’m less than likely to jump on the opportunity.

For people like me, college can be a little intimidating. Knowing myself well, I knew that going into college my freshman year, I’d be stuck between a rock and a hard place; I would be stuck between knowing I should go out and try new and different things, and not being sure enough of myself to do them. I could already see myself making excuses not to try things. “I mean, I’m pretty busy Friday night with organizing my emails into folders, and then shopping on Amazon for what I’m going to get my parents five Christmases from now. I just don’t know if I can make it.”

I arrived on campus last year conflicted but hopeful that I’d change my ways and venture out. Turns out, all I needed was a partner in crime.

Having a roommate was one of the greatest blessings of my freshman year. With someone to go to things with, I was much more eager to check out social gatherings and events that might have felt awkward if I were alone.

Sometimes, we ended up being awkward anyway. Like the time we showed up to the NSO toga party wearing our bedsheets, where everyone else was wearing white cocktail dresses. Or the time we showed up to the “gala event” at the Philadelphia Art Museum wearing our street clothes, where everyone else had dressed up. Or the time we almost ended up spending the night in Camden because we got off at the wrong bus stop on our way back from Six Flags. (This is just a sampling of our mishaps.)

But, a lot of times, things turned out well. Like when we went to Six Flags with who would become our closest friends (pre-Camden). Or the time we discovered the magic that is Han Dynasty’s “Chicken crispy rice”…or Honest Tom’s burritos… or Pop Shop (we kind of love food). Or the time we went to this weird meditation-yoga-freestyle-dance event during NSO, and ended up having fun (and discovering vegan cupcakes…again with the food).

I quickly found that having someone to try new things with made trying new things easy. If we had tons of fun, I’d be thankful we tried it out. If things weren’t as we’d expected, at least I wasn’t alone. Especially moving from the small town to the big city, I had lots of opportunities around me to try things I hadn’t experienced. It was a much more pleasant experience with someone else.

If you’re like me, one person you seriously need to get through college is your “Dora the  Explorer,” someone to go with you and navigate the new terrain of college. Even if you’re an upperclassman, there will always be new things to see and do. It’s easier if you have an accomplice. They might not always have the map (I’m the map, I’m the map…no? You didn’t watch Dora?) but they’ll be willing to go along for the ride.

If you’re not like me, you should still find yourself a Dora. Even if new things aren’t easier for you with a friend, they’re certainly more fun!

College is full of so many amazing opportunities to do new and different things, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of them. So, “Come on, vamenos” and bring Dora with you next time.

Look out for my next post in the series! Please share any thoughts, comments, notes of adoration (ha!) below. 🙂


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