Ditch your fear of urban life

When we first saw pictures of Temple in admissions brochures, many of us thought about the combination of big, bad city life and the thrill of college habits. What we saw in those glossy photos

When we first saw pictures of Temple in admissions brochures, many of us thought about the combination of big, bad city life and the thrill of college habits. What we saw in those glossy photos didn’t entirely
reflect what we would be exposed to after saying “farewell” to high school and “what’s up” to Temple.

Even though most of us have made potentially dangerous decisions during our time here, we know that we should avoid stumbling around campus alone at 3 a.m. We know we shouldn’t walk home chatting on our cell phones or listening to our precious iPods.

Living on Temple’s campus means dealing with a nervous walk home after dark and possibly repainting a car that’s been keyed. It sometimes makes coming here seem like a mistake. But I try not to think of it that way.

At some other college campuses, students feel comfortable passing out on the campus quad in the wee hours of the morning. Their biggest fear might be snapping a heel on the walk home instead of getting robbed.

But that doesn’t mean that they are better off than Temple students.

Temple has its downfalls, as does every college. I have had friends at Temple who have gotten beat up, had their cars stolen and been mugged at gunpoint.

I also wouldn’t call Temple one of the most recreationally dazzling campuses in the country. I applaud students for creating programs through their student organizations and providing us with theater and concert opportunities. Other than that, however, campus lacks variety in its sites for student playtime, such as restaurants, parks and shops.

Temple is located in a rough neighborhood
and isn’t much of a funhouse. No big deal. Just because I can’t skip to my apartment on Diamond Street in my underwear at 2 a.m. while sporting a sign that reads “assault me” on my back, that doesn’t mean I regret coming to Temple.

I feel that the drawbacks are actually benefits in disguise.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, most violent crime victims are teenagers and young adults. I once read that many young victims are recent college
graduates. These recent grads may have gotten used to living in a bubble provided by their university. They aren’t necessarily as cautious as they should be now that they’re functioning in a world where they need to think, “It could happen
to me.”

After the sun goes down, I walk home with my sharpest key between my fingers ready to gouge out a potential mugger’s eye. When I visit high school friends at their universities, I don’t feel the need to do this. I think Temple has prepared me for dangerous real-world moments by forcing me to be guarded.

While crimes are obviously committed
at other colleges, city students gain a unique experience. Temple students are a good example, as they spend their collegiate years in one of the roughest neighborhoods in a city where homicides are committed practically everyday. Temple students are also unique compared to other Philadelphia collegians.

Students in University City and Center City have a plethora of hang-out spots, shops and restaurants. They have a mini metropolis at their disposal.

We have to embark on a subway or taxi journey to get to the action. I like splitting time between Temple’s campus and the rest of Philadelphia. I have a more intimate relationship with the city that I might not have developed if I had attended school elsewhere. I feel unsheltered, which is exactly what I wanted out of college life after growing up in I’m-So-Bored, Pa.

So we might have to be extra careful
and hand in our “I didn’t know any better” cards, which allowed us to act foolishly in high school. We also might have to travel downtown in order to have an interesting night out with our friends. But we have the opportunity to attend a university where college life coincides with real life. We have the city at our doorstep and a lack of naivete, which will serve us now and in the future.

That’s worth the nervous walk home after dark.

Kathleen Hager can be reached at klindsay@temple.edu.

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