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Opinion

College students advised to run away from monotony

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April 11, 2008

I’m kind of angry right now; I’m trying to pinpoint the cause of my anger, but I can’t seem to put a finger on it. As soon as I think I have the reason, a new one pops into my head.

It’s not the weather that’s put me in this mood; I like cloudy skies because I don’t have to squint. It’s not schoolwork—nothing there has changed. I’d like to think it wasn’t the people around me—after all, they’ve all been this way for quite some time.

I guess I’m okay with being angry. If I was never angry, I wouldn’t know how great it is to be happy. But I don’t really feel like smiling right now. I kind of want to wade in my own shallow pool of anger.

When I’m feeling this way, when things are just mundane, there’s usually only one thing I like to do. It’s something I wish every college student would do: run away.

No eyebrows should be raised, no gasps should be heard. It’s simple: you pack your essentials and leave.

When monotony strikes or you’re craving adventure or you just don’t want to be wherever you currently are, run away.

The last time I ran away was last summer. I couldn’t work because of a scarring incident that took place somewhere between River Falls Days and the desire to go swimming at three in the morning, and I was fed up with hanging around doing nothing in a house with no air conditioning. I got a map and decided to explore somewhere south and east of River Falls.

With a soundtrack, a bag of trail mix, a notebook and markers, a full tank of gas, a map of Minnesota, a borrowed camera, an extra pair of clothes [I never know what I’m going to get myself into], bug spray and two bottles of Gatorade, I was off.

I had a few goals: stop at a dock and put my feet in the water and listen to my newly created compact disk the whole way through as many times as necessary.

I’m not sure I want to tell you exactly where I went. But here’s what I got out of it: windmills may cause automobile accidents—they just have a way of sucking me in. The same goes for irrigation systems. Train tracks are no longer the only interruption I appreciate on the road, but they still leave me longing to run down them. Sometimes roads beg to be discovered, even if they’re deserted driveways. Grown-ups can act like teenagers and still believe that no one knows what they’re doing in the park after work. I still hate mosquitoes and horse flies. Deserted parks heavily littered with campers are eerie and disturbing. I will forever be a child who finds interest in far too many topics. Running away on the hottest day of the year isn’t the most rewarding idea, but having your windows rolled down on a hot summer’s night definitely eases the stickiness. There’s way more to life than what is in your fifty-mile radius, especially on a week day.

When running away, it’s absolutely necessary to turn around if you pass something intriguing behind you. It’s okay to drive around a block three or four times just to look at some pretty cool architecture. It’s best to stop and eat at a small, independent restaurant instead of a chain—after all, you’re running away, seeking out the unknown. It’s more intriguing to tell people that you got strange looks because you were the only person under 50 at Jack’s Fish and Chips than admitting that you went to a Perkins and got funny looks.

Running away is the perfect way to get to know yourself. I dare you to run away. Not every consequence is bad.

Abby Maliszewski is a student at UW-River Falls.