The school year has started, bus route 51 has returned to the streets of Hamilton and there are still plenty of gorgeous days left to explore the city we all call at least our part-time home.
Mac has a beautiful campus. Between the architecture, the grounds and the fact that we back onto Cootes Paradise, there are plenty of reasons to stay within the campus bubble, occasionally venturing out to a restaurant in Westdale or a run along the rail trail in Ainslie Wood. While these are great neighbourhoods with lots of fun activities for students, Hamilton has even more to offer.
It’s easy to rattle off a list of events going on in Hamilton at any given point. I could give you any number of reasons to go see Albion Falls or check out Supercrawl. Honestly though, the most important thing you can do is get off campus, period, and from there, get out of Westdale.
McMaster undergrads call Hamilton home for somewhere between three and six years on average. In that time, it seems only logical to get a feel for that home. Forget the events going on downtown or the tourist destinations where your Mac ID grants you free admission. The city is your host for the duration of your time here, and it is important to take full advantage of that. As great as it is to learn the intricacies of the areas surrounding the university, you will likely not feel like a part of the city until you venture beyond King and Longwood. You are in the midst of great change. Your metaphorical horizon is expanding, and it makes sense for your literal horizon to grow with it.
Establishing your own stomping grounds in a city is one of the first steps in truly feeling at home there. This may hold especially true for those who have yet to find their capital S “Spot” on campus.
Exploring a new part of a city, whether you have lived there for three weeks or three years, can be daunting. I am not suggesting it is not. But when you are into your fourth week of midterm stress and are looking for a break from the Mills study cubicles, almost no kind of study break is as easily refreshing as a view that doesn’t remind you of school. It feels incredibly rewarding to master a new part of the city, or figure out exactly where that bus route goes.
While knowing all the corners of campus is a triumph, feeling at home wherever you are in your adopted city feels even better.