Some people grow up on the coast of Florida, some in the city of L.A., some in the suburbs of Pennsylvania. I grew up in a rural part of Connecticut, spending my summers in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania. Yet I came to the Concrete Jungle anyway. It was not that I hated the environments I came from, it was that I wasn’t sure if I would love the city life. I knew I wanted to give it a try to better understand where I want to live when I am older. So I came to Wagner College, knowing I wouldn’t be 120% immersed into the city but that it would be different than what I am used to and give me a taste of what could be.
I would be lying if I said the transition was easy. I did not understand the importance of nature to me and how much I truly valued the outdoors until I was a few weeks into school and all I wanted was to walk my dogs through the wooded trails. Needless to say, I grew a little bit homesick. I was really looking for some alone time, and sometimes that is hard to find even in your own room. I knew I wanted to love Wagner, I knew I definitely would love Wagner. So I tried to bring pieces of home to here.
At orientation, they might advise you to not run off campus unless you are with a friend. What they don’t tell you is that there are nearby parks that provide places to keep you grounded. One day, I decided to run off campus by myself with no end destination. Traveling through the nearby neighborhoods, I found my way to Silver Lake Park. Silver Lake is roughly a mile away, and while it is not incredibly huge, it is a park with a body of water and trees. Most times I am there I pass adorable elderly couples on their daily walks or young parents walking their puppies. It is surrounded by other neighborhoods and a golf course, so it doesn’t completely immerse yourself in the wilderness. However, it is a wonderful escape that I highly recommend you take a walk too.
After learning Silver Lake Park like the back of my hand, I was looking for something new. One night on the phone with my father, he googled “places to walk near Wagner College”. The search engine provided plenty of options, but one in particular caught my eye. Clove Lake Park is roughly a mile away, depending which route you take, and is a beautiful place with wooded trails and paved walk ways. I’ve seen parents strolling with their little kids, the local middle school cross country teams, elderly getting their daily dose of the outdoors, and much more. It is a safe environment with different paths to take.
While the concrete jungle is a magical place to wander, there is definitely something relieving about a nature walk. One of the hardest parts of college is not having the same comforts as home, whether that is mom’s home cooked food or an evening walk with your dogs. Alone time, the actual kind where you feel at peace and not lonely, is sometimes hard to come by. But for someone who has an outdoorsy personality or finds comfort in nature, I am here to assure you that there are pieces of that even in the city school of Wagner College. (While I think running alone is totally okay, I do advice running with your phone as a precaution.)