By Elaina Taylor
It seems that only yesterday it was FROG week and I was starting out as an excited freshman, eager to participate and engage in everything. But you know how time flies, and next thing I knew I was saying goodbye to my first year as a freshman and leaving this gorgeous campus for the summer.
I am now a sophomore and determined that this year will not be like the last one. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great year; I met some amazing people, took some cool classes, and completely fell in love with JMU and the community we have here on campus. Yet I look back and feel I neither accomplished nor discovered much at all. I barely scratched the surface of what this university or the surrounding community offers. I never ventured downtown, didn’t get involved in any clubs, hardly attended any events the university put on, and went to a grand total of two football games.
So, my motto of the year is discovery and thus far I think I’m doing pretty well. I’ve already:
• Explored part of downtown Harrisonburg
• Unsuccessfully attempted to participate in Thursday Salsa nights at the Artful Dodger (There is a dress code requirement!)
• Dined at Billy Jack’s, a cheap, but scrumptious “wing & draft shack” with a wicked cool atmosphere and décor
• Auditioned for a few of the A Cappella groups on campus
• Accidently found my bucket list item #22 – Union Tower!
• Finally tried Lakeside Express – a gourmet sandwich and pizza shop tucked away next to Mrs. Green’s in Chandler
• Attended a UPB Spotlight Sounds concert and absolutely loved it
• Toured White Oaks Lavender Farm
• Dropped in at the Rockingham County Fair (there’s such thing as a goat obstacle course?)
• Stumbled upon Lake Shenandoah, a cute little spot not five minute down Port Republic; picnic anyone?
This motto also means rediscovering everything I came to love last year. I encourage every freshman to attend at least one or two of the group fitness classes that UREC offers (Athletic, Cycle, Dance, Mind/Body, Step, and Toning). Or if you’re looking to just relax, check out the Student Activities & Involvement calendar, which has listings for $3 movies at Grafton (#dateworthy!), not to mention many other weekly events like Open Mic Night, TeaTime, and Get Down at Sundown. College is about finding your niche – so it wouldn’t hurt to check out the clubs on campus as well, and perhaps meet people with whom you share a passion or even unearth a new one. This university as well as the surrounding community have so much to offer if you just take a minute or two to search.
My point is I missed out on a great deal my freshman year, and I aim to fix that my second go around. Don’t be the senior who finds out that there are free concerts monthly at TDU and that an up-and-coming band you like played there just last month. Take charge of your time here at JMU, because the years roll by faster than you realize. So I implore you to explore my fellow Dukes!