Go to class, study, do homework, go home, repeat. Sound familiar? This is often how life as a community college student goes. Maybe you go to work at one point, or squeeze in time to hang out with friends, but for the most part we are often leading lives with the same, basic, day-to-day routine. Luckily for us, we go to a school where we are often presented ways to take a break from that routine; to get out and explore.
Once a semester, the Office of Student Life offers a bus trip to New York City, where students can do whatever their heart desires for the day. It’s a popular event that always sells out super-fast, so plan ahead!
For the past two years, my friends and I have taken full advantage of this opportunity, and we have learned quite a bit with each experience. I guess you could say we’ve learned the hacks of surviving a day in New York City.
On the first trip I attended, I was a freshman here at HCC. A few of my friends and I saw the fliers around campus and thought it would be a nice change in atmosphere. So, we each purchased our tickets (at a very decent price for a student) and spent every day talking about the things we wanted to see and do. This is where the first tip comes into play. Plan ahead.
The bus leaves the school early in the morning. Some advice I can offer you is to bring snacks, headphones, and motion sickness relief/prevention (if you are bound to get sick). A lot of people sleep during the 3-hour bus ride, or they enjoy the movies put on by the bus captains. The bus ride is probably the hardest part of the trip, especially going there for the first time.
When you get into the city, it can be a little overwhelming. There’s always heavy traffic, there are a lot of people walking everywhere, and the buildings are so big! It’s a lot to take in, and trust me, the movies do not do the Big Apple justice. As you take time to process the new scenery, you’ll probably be thinking of new things you want to see and do as places catch your eye. That’s okay, but to make your trip the best it can be, you should google places of interest and map out your trip.
The first time I went, we did not do this and ended up everywhere. We tried to play it by ear, but everyone panicked thinking we weren’t going to make it to the bus in time. We had no initial plans, spent a good ten to twenty minutes trying to pick a place for lunch and then ended up aimlessly walking around the city trying to decide on something else to do. After learning from my mistakes, the second time I went was much smoother because we all knew where we wanted to eat, what we wanted to see, and the places we wanted to go.
Another piece of advice I can offer, is to trust your brain when it comes to navigating. Being in a really big city is different for a lot of people, especially those who have only lived in one place their whole life, but when you go, please do not stare at google maps trying to find the places you want to go. In NYC, like most cities, the streets are numbered in order, and you can find everything pretty easily if you know the intersection it is at, or near. Trying to follow your phones GPS is a struggle in a busy environment. Just look at the directions and use them for reference as you go. Trust yourself, and I promise you will get there. Not saying fake it until you make it, just saying confidence is key. Another good idea is to put one trustworthy person in charge of navigating to resolve conflict prematurely if you are in a big group.
If you go in a big group, please know that inevitably there is going to be a conflict of interest regarding time spent in certain places. People are going to have different interests. Know that it’s okay to split up under a few conditions. Condition one being, establish battle buddies. Do not venture off alone; that’s bound to be a disaster. As for the next condition, make sure everyone has a charged phone.
As far as advice goes, that’s all I have for you. With these tips, you are set for a successful, fun-filled day in New York. Thanks to the Office of Student Life, this trip is a success each semester. The trip is a fun one, filled with shopping, photo-ops, museums, and so much more. There’s something for everyone there, and it’s always nice to take a break from our daily routines. Don’t be afraid of a little adventure, get out, explore and have fun because you don’t know when you’ll get the chance to again.