Freshmen get handed the short end of the stick. They have to balance academic responsibilities, learn how to live independently and find places of comfort in a new town. As freshmen, however, it can be difficult to find new places to eat, relax and spend time with friends.
Most freshmen don’t have cars, making it difficult to get around. If students do venture off campus, they tend to head to U-Square or other places within a 15-minute walking distance. Setting aside time to find those places is crucial in order to have a good time in college.
An easy place to go off-campus are coffee shops. Oftentimes quiet and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, coffee shops are a great place to go to study for classes.
With plenty of treats available, comfortable atmospheres and away-from-college stressors, freshman Melanie Pelarski decided to go off-campus to River Rock Coffee Bar, her new favorite place to go.
“I don’t like to go to coffee shops that are crowded and busy, so when I looked up images online, it looked very comforting,” said Pelarski. “They have really pretty scenery and the workers are welcoming and friendly. It’s a great place to get your mind set on school work.”
Sometimes, heading to another part of town is exciting. The downtown area is a great place to find restaurants that are perfect for nights-out and businesses that are great places to study. Often the best shops are ones that catch you by surprise. For senior Kiersten Olson, she came across Once Read Used Book Store, a local bookstore by chance.
“The door was open and it looked really cute,” said Olson. “It’s very peaceful and calming and a great place to read and do homework.”
If students prefer to study on-campus, there are a variety of shops that are available, no matter what your interests are. From boutiques to sporting good stores, there is something for everyone to indulge in.
One of senior Emil Otteson’s favorite places to go is The Dork Den, a place where tabletop games ranging from Apples to Apples to Dungeons and Dragons, and video games are sold. The events and products have made the store a favorite of Otteson’s.
“I play a lot of tabletop games and read comic books and they have a great selection there,” said Otteson. “They occasionally host game nights where people go in and play and those are fun to attend.”
Heading off-campus with a group of friends is a great way to explore the town and step out of your comfort zone, especially if you’re new. Finding those special spots early on makes the college experience even more enjoyable too.
“There are a lot of total gems that you’ll miss if you don’t go out and look at the tons of small, local businesses,” said Otteson. “If you don’t go, they might close, so it’s worth it to go out and explore.”
Header photo: South Front Street located in downtown Mankato. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)