When the weather starts to warm up, my first thoughts immediately go to my bike. Since I am not one of those people willing to brave the snowy and icy roads, it has been locked up all winter, looking sad and lonely in the cold outdoors. The second it’s warm, my bike is sad and lonely no longer.
One of my favorite things about Bozeman is it’s biker friendly roads. On many of the main roads, there is either a designated bike lane and “share the road” signs, or a bike path that runs parallel but is separated from the road. Many of the walking trails are bike friendly and easy for a casual biker like myself. If you are more of the mountain biker type, there is no shortage of trails for you either. Most importantly, the distance between campus and downtown/most of bozeman is relatively small, so you definitely don’t need a car to get around if you have a good bike (and a helmet, of course!).
So, a piece of advice from a graduating senior: bring a bike. Not one of those cruisers with the baskets and the bike handlebars and colorful look. A real bike that is road or trail ready.
Ready to take the bike for a spin. After we get the other two bikes.
This past weekend, I hiked Drinking Horse again (see it in a previous post- right across from the M). I thought it would be a nice, easy hike with the dogs… I wasn’t accounting for the snowfall we just had earlier in the week. Turns out, snow doesn’t just go away and the ground is magically dry. Snow goes away, but it leaves slush and mud behind it. Very slippery slush and mud. And when you have a dog pulling you with her hulk like strength… it becomes a bit unsafe.
Anyways, it was still fun and not too busy. The views are nice up drinking horse, and it only took about an hour to an hour and a half in total to hike up and back down. It would have taken much less time if I didn’t have to be so careful to avoid falling!
Monday: Dry ground, sun, sixty degrees
This weekend, I went with a friend and two dogs on an adventure that was supposed to be Corbly Gulch. We strayed from the path purposefully and trekked around randomly instead… it was fun. Here’s all the info in case you’re interested:
We drove about 20 minutes to the road that was supposed to lead to the trailhead. We had directions to the road from the book “Day Hikes Around Bozeman”, which I strongly suggest you get if you want to explore the Bozeman outdoors. The book told us that we would drive about two miles on the trailhead road and then see parking spaces on our right… we can’t tell you if this is true.
First of all, the “road” was really an old jeep road filled with all kinds of holes and bumps. I wouldn’t suggest bringing a small car and expecting to get through it. Second, we could not figure out how far we were supposed to drive to find said parking spots because we were pretty sure we wouldn’t recognize the parking spots as parking spots, since it was unlikely there would be any pavement or markings- probably just some dirt where it looked like people had parked before.
So, we pulled off at a place that looked like you could leave your car, climbed out with the dogs, and headed forward on what we were pretty sure was Corbly Gulch. Or at least the road to Corbly Gulch. About five minutes in, there was a big steep hill with car tracks to our left- probably people had tried to drive up it for fun. I highly doubt any car made it to the top. There was also evidence that people had been there from the old fire places and trash- mini rant here CARRY OUT YOUR TRASH. DO NOT RUIN THE OUTDOORS BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO LAZY TO PICK UP YOUR TRASH.
Anyways, this is the point we ventured off. We decided to go up the hill. Behind the hill was another hill, then another, then another, until we got to a ridge. We had to turn back because one of the dogs cut her ear a bit on some barbed wire fencing that we climbed over it. Note: barbed wire fencing was there to designate private property. We couldn’t be sure which side of the fence was private property so we just ended up hiking on both sides. Oops.
It was fun to adventure. We saw some cool views and liked feeling like we were exploring off of the literal beaten path. We will have to go back to follow the path, too, though. It’s always good to do a little of both.
A few weeks ago, I attended an MSU event put on by Counseling and Psychological Services on campus for Mental Wellness Week. The event was called “Behind Happy Faces” with Ross Szabo. Ross is a speaker from CampuSpeak who travels to universities to talk about the complexities of mental health issues. Ross aimed during his talk to empower those present to seek help for themselves or their friends. He emphasized that mental health is for everyone, not just for people struggling with a mental illness.
Most mental health challenges are highly treatable, something Ross wanted to make clear during his talk. It is a shame that students so often feel they have to suffer in science and therefore can not get the help that they need and achieve the recovery they are capable of. We have fantastic services here on campus to support students mental health, and it is important that you are proactive, not just reactive. Go to the student health center and find a doctor you like, check out the counseling services, talk to your RA or RD, tell a close friend what you are struggling with, from a tough exam to a tough breakup. Get sleep, eat well, exercise… you know the drill, so get to it! (Don’t worry, I recognize it’s easier said than done- but try your best!)
Focus on your mental health and get help before you really need it.
This is a continuation of the previous post (rant) about making your experience count. I realize that I made things sound very simple and happy in that post, and for many it may be. But for many others, college can be really hard, especially when you first get here and if you don’t know anyone. So I thought I’d give a bit more advice.
First off, don’t be too worried if you are an incoming freshman. All freshmen want to make friends, and the school does all kinds of things to help you do that. You are going to have to feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable to be able to talk to people you don’t know and build those friendships, but it works out in the end. I met my best college friend the first day of my orientation. We sat next to each other, introduced ourselves, and then awkwardly decided to get lunch together.
Second, if that doesn’t happen for you or you still don’t feel like you quite fit in, there’s lots of options for you. For me, I was fortunate enough to have been dragged to sorority recruitment- a decision I couldn’t be happier with. The other forty girls in my sorority would tell you the same. For others, it’s a group like the VOICE center focused on a specific cause. Or maybe a student organization like the Democrats of MSU. Or perhaps intermurals if you love sports. Whatever it is, there is something out there for you. But it won’t just fall into your lap- you need to do a little work too.
Hopefully that’s good advice to start you off!
…Of endless confusion about how to exist in the post-college real world. Or what the real world even means to me (see picture above to get an idea about my plans for the future…). If I had one piece of advice to incoming college freshmen, it would be this: Spend four years at college and do everything you can to fully experience those years. Do well in classes, of course, because you don’t want to waste all that money and time to come out of it with a really low GPA or to get suspended or something. More importantly, though, enjoy yourself. Make new friends, even if your high school friends are already there. Experience the town. Don’t turn down new opportunities just because they scare you or it’s out of your comfort zone (exception: incredibly dangerous things and things against your moral compass). Do all kinds of odd jobs, get passionate about a cause, join a bunch of clubs… whatever it is that will make your college experience the best it could be, do it.
Need suggestions? Feel free to comment and ask!
Spring Break 2015 is here… my last spring break of my undergraduate college career. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed! After a rocky first half of the semester trying to come to terms with my upcoming and unavoidable graduation and push into the real world, it feels good to have a break. Let me tell you what I’m doing:
Road Trip! To Salt Lake City!
On Thursday I hitched a ride with my friend to Salt Lake City to catch my flight out of there to Los Angeles. I had booked a flight out of Salt Lake City because it was around $200 round trip, where a flight out of bozeman was around $700. Ridiculous, I know. Spring Break didn’t technically start until the weekend, but most professors cancel their classes on Thursday and Friday because everybody just leaves anyways!
Landing in California as the sun sets
After a 6 hour car ride and a 1 hour and 20 minute flight, I had landed in LA where my older sister was waiting to pick me up. We drove the hour and a half back to her place in Ventura. It was night time so I couldn’t see the full awesomeness of California yet, but I was already happy because of how warm it was. As you can imagine, considerably warmer than Bozeman at night.
The next morning, I got up to seventy degree weather and we set out to seize the day. We went on a 6 mile hike (roundtrip) in Malibu that allowed me to really see the beauty of the california landscape. We checked out a couple of really cool beaches, one were we explored through some caves and another where we saw a whole lot of seals and a whale spouting water in the distance. It was a long, hot, awesome day. Now I’m on to 8:30am day two, looking forward to what the rest of the week has to bring.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to go to California! Such a change of scenery and weather from Bozeman. The perfect Spring Break!
Care package from my mom…
I may be 22 and graduating college in May, but I still feel like I’m a kid just at summer camp or something. Like after this I’ll just go home and my parents will continue to support me forever while i hang out with friends and have fun. Unfortunately… this is the real world, where after you graduate from college you are expected to start contributing to society.
So, this post is to help you accept that homesickness is a natural part of college, and it’s okay. It’s okay to want to call your parents every night the first few weeks you are at school because you miss them. It’s okay (awesome, actually) to get care packages from your mom. It’s okay to go home for just a few days because you want someone to cook for you and do your laundry.
On the flip side, it is also okay to stop calling your parents after the first week because you are so busy having fun and being successful you don’t have the time. It’s okay to go to other friends houses over break because you want to travel to other places and spend time with them. It’s okay to do all these things and still want care packages because they are awesome.
Don’t fear homesickness, it is a natural and healthy part of leaving home. And don’t fear college, because you’ll love it more than you can imagine, and soon you’ll be at home during a break thinking about how much you want to be at college.
Last weekend, I took the day off of work and school on Friday and headed up to Big Sky to ski with my brother. He works at the resort and as a benefit he has coupons for half off of the lift ticket and rentals, which comes out to about 50-60 dollars all together. I only went up for half of the day to ski because he thought I would get tired if I tried to go all day. Jokes on him, though, because I shredded down that mountain (note: I don’t know how to stop, so that’s my only option).
We did a few runs at big sky and then skied over to moonlight (A resort owned by big sky) and skied there too. After the mountain closed at 4 we went and got some good food, hung out in the hot tub pool, and then I headed home. It was a good day. So good that I’m going back this Saturday to do a full day!