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College students should get outside | The Triangle

College students should get outside

Photograph courtesy of Jmh485 at Wikimedia Commons

Going outside is a million times harder now than it was when you were younger. Far removed are the days when your parents had to corral you from the backyard, the playgrounds or the basketball courts before sundown, for dinner or to clean your room.

Those were the days when being outside meant you had all the freedom in the world. Back when anything was an adventure waiting to be explored. When sticks were swords and you and your friends reenacted movie scenes with props created from household objects. This was back when your imagination was running wild, as if you were outside.

Now, you’re stuck inside, stuck on your phone, stuck on the couch, stuck in a car, stuck on the subway, stuck in school or stuck in your weekend routine of party-party-recover-repeat. You’re stuck like a broken record that is getting dangerously close to scratching.

Getting outside again, and getting outside for good, comes from within. You must look inward to understand what needs fixing. You need to understand that you’ll be happier if you do, and that you’ll love yourself more for doing so. You need to realize that doing the same things repeatedly isn’t necessarily living, rather, just existing.

You need to embrace your long-lost sense of adventure, which now seems to only come about late at night after a couple of rounds. You need to realize that being outside of the house doesn’t mean that you’ve done what’s been asked of you.

You need to get outside and be able to not worry about what’s going on inside. You need to be able to go outside and only focus on what’s in front of you. You need to be a kid again and let the world be your playground. Go run, walk, jump, bike, hop, skip, sprint, climb, hike or just about anything.

You need to try camping for a day and then realize camping is a lot less alluring than it sounds. You need to try camping over and over in different places. Once you find the right system for you, it will click, and you will want to go camping again.

You need to fall down in the mud, and you need to get poured on a couple times. You need to wake up shivering. You need to find the best place to watch the sunset. You need to learn to love and hate the wind — but mostly hate it — and value it for what it’s worth. You need to smell a good fire, one made for nothing but the warmth and happiness of the people who are around it. You need to take your friends with you; take your best friends or friends you want to become best friends with.

Go on hikes where you lose cellular service. Head up to the mountains and stay in a cabin with no Internet access. Spend a week on a beautiful lakeside; spend each day writing about the lake from a different angle, from a different point of view and with each piece viewing it from a different edge on its shores.

You need to find happiness and peace in being outside. You need to stop treating each trek out your door like a spacewalk, in which you are tethered to a singular spot that you will always return to. You need to find that getting outside is quite simple at its core. Don’t worry about what you’re missing out on inside, and instead, just focus on what you can accomplish outside. If you spend the entire time worrying about something else, you’ll never truly get outside. You’ll never enjoy it.

Once you really get outside, you’ll never want to come back in.