A walk to remember: Follow these tips for exploring campus

A+man+walks+down+Wright+Street+with+a+McDonald%27s+bag+on+March+28.+Walking+around+campus+is+a+great+way+to+connect+with+ourselves+during+the+ongoing+pandemic.

Mark Capapas

A man walks down Wright Street with a McDonald's bag on March 28. Walking around campus is a great way to connect with ourselves during the ongoing pandemic.

By Mark Capapas, Managing Editor for Online

The summer of 2020 has served as a precursor to what our school year may involve amidst a cycle of uncertainty. Some of our summer hobbies with the potential to continue include staying inside, looking at screens, music, nostalgia and even emotional confusion. It is easy to get stuck in these repetitive days and let laziness get the best of us. One of the best ways to break this cycle and reset our brains is the simple act of walking.

Now, I do not mean going on a 20-mile walk to discover ourselves in a Forrest Gump kind of way, but just getting outside with the pure intention of walking. This in itself is a way to reset ourselves. In a world where young adults like us are crushed with the pressures of having successful careers, meaningful hobbies and always being on top of everything in our lives, there is a sense of blissful ambiguity that the simple act of walking gives us. It allows us to unravel complex and maybe detrimental emotions that have been bugging us. It’s a chance to possibly solve a problem in school or even our personal lives by stepping out of our own mind and environment. Perhaps it just lets us get some fresh air and gives us a break from our screens and comfort zone. There needs to be no means to an end for walking, but just the pure intention of walking itself has so many benefits to us as students and people.

You may ask yourself: How should I go about walking and where do I start? As someone who has spent a lot of evenings walking and exploring Champaign-Urbana, I do have a couple of tips.

Walk during the golden hour

To really get a feel for the beauty that the University has to offer, I would recommend walking during the golden hour. The sky space is so stunning during this time and really touches everything beautifully. Landmarks on campus seem to get a little more majestic around this time.

My two favorite places to walk 

Pair the golden hour with the Japan House gardens and you have something that doesn’t even feel like you’re in the Midwest anymore. Take a moment to go through the tall trees and listen to the small pond next to the gardens. There is a lot of grass for you to sit down and relax so take this opportunity to really reflect on yourself and what’s important to you as well as your surroundings.

If you are feeling a little lonely due to social distancing and quarantining, then you can find a little bit of resolve walking along St. Mary’s Road in Champaign. There is a hilly dirt road that will lead you to see some horses. Because of the way our social lives are changed, it is important to adapt, and I find that seeing and observing these creatures is always soothing.

My last tip

Remember that doing activities with intention is important for our minds. There is no end goal for walking but it is nice to do something aimless and just enjoy it for the pure and simple act of partaking in it. Don’t be afraid to veer off into a direction and maybe indulge in your curiosity around campus. We have a lot of time to walk and connect with ourselves, so I hope you take advantage of this opportunity and maybe find something unique to yourself. Also, always check for your headphones.

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