OPINION | Students should travel through their university

Have you ever wanted to interact with topics in real life that you have only learned about in the pages of your textbook? Perhaps you want to see the fossils you have learned about in your anthropology courses, or maybe it’s the historic locations you’ve heard about from your history class.

While it can be helpful to learn about subjects through the pages of a college textbook, it is an entirely different experience being able to interact with those subjects in-person — and travel is a great way to do it.

In my experience, seeing concepts from a real-life perspective helps you personally connect with them in a beneficial, educational way and collect experiences that you will remember for a lifetime.

According to an article by WorldStrides, traveling through one’s school boosts grit, perspective, individuality and independence, among many other qualities.

“Unfamiliarity and separation from home are great incubators for thought. New experiences will question one’s preconceived ideas. This enriching experience challenges students to open their minds regarding food, friends and basic needs,” the website reads.

This past month, I was informed of an opportunity offered through UCCS to attend the student journalism conference MediaFest in Washington, D.C. When the topic of the conference was first brought up, however, I was hesitant. I had never traveled through the school before, and I was uncertain how the experience would interact with my studies.

Then the thought occurred to me: I can either spend my week like I normally do, working on assignments for class like usual, confined to my desk. Or, I could take a chance on something new and spend a few days in a location I had never visited before. I chose the latter, and I couldn’t have been more glad.

I had never been to D.C., so the entire trip was a new experience for me. I was able to see national monuments that I had only seen from the pages of my high school textbooks. (The Lincoln Memorial is a lot bigger than it looks on the $5 bill!)

During the conference, I was able to interact with different student journalists, media organizations and speakers.

One of the biggest aspects of attending university is for growth — socially, academically and personally. Traveling allows students to further grow in all three of these areas.

Every school year, different departments at the university offer study-abroad trips and experiences with real-life concepts. Though UCCS is largely a commuter school, that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved with programs and trips that the school offers.

The experiences I had while traveling through UCCS were unforgettable, and they are memories that I will continue to treasure for the rest of my life. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation as I did, unsure if you should take the opportunity to travel, take a chance and go for it. You won’t regret it.

From left: Scribe editors Kate Marlett, Abby Aldinger, Annika Schmidt and Julia Jackson visit the White House in Washington, D.C. during a trip to MediaFest ’22. Photo courtesy of Kate Marlett.