Smirl Meets World On Travel


I spent my weekend surrounded by monuments, memorials, and metro stops in one of my favorite cities I have ever visited: Washington, DC. While it wasn’t the first time I have ever been there or traveled, it was the first class trip I’ve ever taken, and I have to say that navigating a city with my classmates is entirely different than any trip I have ever been on before. We were given freedom to explore the city on our own, and while making dinner decisions and figuring out which trains to take and stops to get off on was stressful at times, it was one of the most “grown up” experiences I have ever had. I learned so much, but I also made some of the best memories of my life and became so much closer with the people in my life. This weekend made me so grateful for college and the experiences I’m going to have, and I couldn’t think of any better new freshman experience to share with you all this week. 

If there’s one thing I learned above everything else, it’s that college gives you the opportunity to learn through so many more ways than just taking classes and doing labs and listening to lectures. Yes, those are important, but being given the chance to see another part of the country or world to learn can often be more beneficial than taking notes or tests. Learning about the founding of our country and how government functions is extremely important, but getting to see the nation’s capital first hand while seeing our founding documents and touring the buildings where laws are made offers so much more insight and allows it all to seem real and present, not just an abstract concept. 

I also learned a lot about traveling and making friends this weekend, because I don’t think I’ve ever been closer to my roommates than when we were looking at metro maps together or dragging ourselves back to our hotel room after walking nonstop for 12 hours or ordering food to the hotel at 1 in the morning. All of these moments are ones that would have never happened if not for our opportunities to travel, and it allows all of us to grow and learn together, while also having one of the best weekends I have ever had. I can’t wait for so many more travel experiences throughout the rest of my college career, and I know that each of them will bring me a new ability to learn and experience the rest of the world with some of the best people I know.

Rileigh Smirl can be contacted at [email protected]