A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a bad state of restlessness. I needed to get away from Iowa City. Every day had become a routine: doing midterm-prep in the same cafes drinking the same kind of coffee, going to the same classes around the same recognizable strangers, all in the same small world of a college town.
So, I looked at my calendar and decided to do just that: get away. I planned out taking a bus to Columbia, Missouri, and spent a weekend there with one of my closest friends for her birthday. It was wonderful to see her in her own college town, and when I came back to Iowa City the following week I felt refreshed and energized. This is why it’s good for students to get out of the Iowa City area when they can.
Familiar, daily agendas bring stability, but it can also get boring for students here in Iowa City. It’s a small, closed-up place. That’s why students should also consider having their own getaway weekends. Yes, there are academic breaks, but they’re months apart. Students need to use more periods of time to not only take a break from an academic lifestyle, but more specifically they need to experience more than that environment. University of Iowa students need more than what is in Iowa City.
Of course, this is one of the reasons why study-abroad programs are so encouraged, and why students and their families go on big trips during academic breaks. But it can also be something as simple as going to Maquoketa Caves, an hour-and-a-half drive away, for the day. Students can spend a weekend in Chicago, St. Louis, or Minneapolis — all of these cities are less than five hours away by car.
Iowa City is nested in a place within the Midwest where it’s relatively close to several other cities that can offer students experiences. I myself am not from the Midwest, so visiting these places are my way of exploring this part of the country while I attend the UI. Being an out-of-state student, I can assure others that travel and any change of scenery offers incredible narratives of experiencing new places and new people.
This does come with needing resources, particularly money, or a method of transportation. One also has to keep in mind work schedules. But there are several options for getting where you’d like to go. The best suggestion I have is to organize a road trip with a friend group. It’s the most practical and financially sound method, and you’ll get to share a travel experience with people close to you.
A trip does take time and effort to plan, but it is so worth it. You gain experiences, and you’ll also return to your routines and daily life with stories, memories, and a new source of energy that you can use in reapplying yourself to academic life.
Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.