By Brian Nelson
Downtown Winfield remains unexplored by most Southwestern students. Excuses point to not having enough time. Truth points to reality shows, football games and late-night movie reruns. Adventure has been replaced by spoon-fed entertainment.
Today’s college generation will be able to tell their children about what they watched on their flat screen plasma every weekend. How intriguing. Most likely, they will not remember if the Dallas cowboys made it to the Super Bowl or not, unless they attend the game. That would involve leaving the comforts of commercials and taking a road trip. An adventure. Then again that time driving could have been spent sleeping, which has become another common activity among students.
Adventure and exploration in reality is becoming non-existent. A portion of college students do their homework, hit the gym and join their teammates for sport practice. But activities beyond that include Facebook surfing, Walmart escapades and late night McDonalds runs. Entertainment comes from actors and actresses pretending to live someone else’s life. People should live their own lives. Movies are enlightening, and should be enjoyed, though without consuming all of one’s free time.
If a selected student did not have a flat screen mounted to the wall and used their laptops solely for homework, they may discover something new. That something includes finished homework and a long open weekend. Exclude boredom, and one may discover that even Winfield, Kansas offers adventure—no matter how small.
Again, downtown Winfield remains unexplored.
As a challenge to students, turn off the TV and shut the laptop. Grab a pair of comfortable walking shoes, track down a couple of friends and take a walk. Walk past the parking lot and leave the cars parked. Take one of the side roads and wonder down the red brick, over the train tracks and into downtown Winfield. Explore the various shops and grab a soda from the local café. Create an environment by bringing life to the intersection of Main Street and 9th Avenue.
Those who have been to Lawrence, the nesting grounds of KU, on a Friday evening know the environment. And no, students are not only bar hopping. There’s more. There’s a dude on the corner playing a guitar and a small group circling to enjoy the music. Down the street there is a man walking around in a red, white and blue Speedo and a little further there is a couple reenacting an over-passionate kiss from “Gone With The Wind.” Around another corner there’s a crowded little coffee shop where the sweet aroma of winter and apple cider leak through the fogging windows.
Winfield lacks this form of college life. Here, at Southwestern where everybody knows everyone else. Here, where you’re not a number, but a name. There is a missing aspect that makes this a college town: a lively downtown.
For those in search of the true college experience, take a walk. Explore more. Have an adventure. Go.
Brian Nelson is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.