Go on an adventure! We’re in a gorgeous, hopping town in the middle of some of the most beautiful country New York has to offer. Wander on!
Walk the Rail Trail. For justification, see above.
Watch a sunset from the Fine Arts Building. On a partially cloudy day, the most wonderful spectrum of colors shows up over Mohonk Mountain.
Explore the school library. You never know what you may find there. Case in point: I found the most intriguing volume of letters from Kaiser Wilhelm to Tsar Nicolas II just sorta collecting dust one day. If that could turn up, who knows what magic might be lurking on other shelves?
Bistro! It’s mad crowded after about 8am, but it’s totally worth it. Cheap, delicious, and a culinary marker of a true NP student.
Listen to a local band in a bar or basement. We have so much musical talent in the area and in our school, and every show I’ve ever been to has had this energy and excitement that can’t be beat.
Go dancing! And no, I don’t mean clubbing, though that can be fun if you’re into that. There’s line dancing at Joe’s Pub and swing all over the place, as well as scattered ballroom and contra dancing. I may be biased, but I believe that social dancing is one of the best things you can do for yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally. And we have a great scene up here!
Get active! There are so many different venues on campus to vocalize your support of different sociopolitical and civil rights issues, and plenty more opportunities to get involved in your community, be it globally or locally. We’re on our way to becoming adults, and liberal-arts-educated citizens of the world, so what better time to get into that vibe?
Take at least one interdisciplinary elective, especially one outside of your major. There are more and more exciting non-major-specific courses every semester, and as someone who’s taken a bunch, I can personally vouch for their practical, ontological and self-growth values (TL:DR they’re mad fun and totally worth it).
Take a class with Connie Rotunda. Trust me on this, it’s life-changing.
Walk across the Gunk in winter. The cops don’t like it, but so long as you have a solid freeze-over, it’s a blast, and it makes the commute between Hasbrouck Quad and the center of campus so much more fun!
Go to a formal dance on campus. Who doesn’t want a reason to look snazzy and debonaire? Dumbledore’s Army hosts Yule Ball every year, and Winter Formal is always fun. There’s also semesterly swing events with live bands, but that’s besides the point.
See a show or two. Our theatre department is fantastic, and so are our theatre nerds in and out of the major. The department productions are a blast, but so are student-directed and student-produced shenanigans, like the Blackbox, Miami Theatre, Paper Rain and Fresh Act productions.
Go watch a sporting event. Athletics might not be a big part of campus life, but it’s really fun to watch your classmates doing something they love that much. That, and Hugo the Hawk’s always fun to be around.
Attend a seminar on something groovy. A couple of departments on campus host conferences and seminar series on things like social justice, evolutionary studies and ecology, and they tend to be a lot of fun. Besides, what would you be doing at 7pm on a Thursday that’s more fun than learning about human-neanderthal sex?
Engage an evangelist in conversation. You may or may not agree with what they have to say to you, especially because most of their pamphlets tend to feature “You’re Going To Hell” prominently, but if you take some time to talk to them, you’ll learn a lot about what they actually think behind the rhetoric, and a lot more about yourself and how your ideas developed. I’m not saying they’ll convert you - in fact, they make a lot of people very angry; but by exchanging ideas, you can come to understand your thoughts so much better, and develop a more rounded reason-base for why you disagree with them, if that’s your end conclusion.
Model. The BFA program is bursting with artists of all kinds, and some are willing to pay in food! It’s fun, and you get a chance to see your body through their accepting, liberal, friendly eyes.
Get sucked into a fandom. Chances are that if you’re on tumblr (and of course you are), you’re already in several. Well, welcome to New Paltz, where tumblr comes to life! We have clubs for people to gush over Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, Sherlock, Doctor Who, anime and manga, comic books, video games and a whole host of other lovely things. It’s best to go to the Dark Side with an open mind and an open belly for all the literal and figurative cookies in store.
Watch the stars in Field O or Q with a friend. Out behind Esopus there are fields that are hardly touched by light. Like, literally, if you walk down the path alongside them you can’t see more than 15 feet into them. But I swear, they’re safe, and the lightlessness makes it all the better for stargazing! It’s not perfect, but it is glorious, and for urban and suburban kids like myself it can be mind-blowing. Just make sure you go with someone, because it can get eerily quiet out there and it’s always better to travel with at least one other person at night, no matter where you are.
Astronomy night! What’s more fun than watching a Planetarium show and going to an observatory for free? Get to know the magic you saw in the fields all the better.
Watch the sun rise through the stained glass window of Old Main. The staircase it’s in is all white, and the light hits it just perfectly, so it’s like you’re standing inside a kaleidoscope.