I started my college experience in Rochester, New York four years ago, when I was eighteen-years-old. After growing up in a rural part of a rural state, moving to a city of 200,000 was a huge change. My first year I didn’t explore the area too much– I lived on campus and didn’t have my own vehicle. I was also adjusting a lot! New friends, new place, no parents, no bedtime. I felt that living on campus and being nurtured by that atmosphere helped me a lot with my transition into living in a much, much bigger place than I was used to.
Expanding away from campus, though, and becoming a citizen of Rochester has been amazing. I have loved having the opportunity to find it’s interesting nooks and crannies, and to get to know some of the awesome people who make their life and art here. It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve lived in Rochester that I really feel like I’ve been able to find the things that make it such a cool place. Part of this might be that I’ve only spent my last year of college above 21, which has opened a lot of doors (and bars) up to me.
I graduate college in one month. I remember when I drove away with my mom after my freshman year– our black Suburban packed with all the things in my dorm room, my eyes welling with tears. I looked back on the buildings that made up my college campus and it was like looking into a mirror– I could see how much one year in Rochester had impacted me. I’ve been thinking about that moment a lot lately, because I have a feeling I’m about to repeat it.
I’ve been trying to set a few intentions before I leave, to make the most of the place that I’m going to be leaving– while also looking for post-graduation options– while also finishing my classes– while also saying goodbye for now to my Rochester loved ones! But it’s something worth making the time for, and here is, in the loosest terms, my Rochester Bucket List.
Eat: One of my 2019 goals has been to be more conscious of my money– something that I’ve always struggled with, and have been steadily improving. One of the areas where i’ve discovered something of a weakness is that I eat out with pretty relative frequency. So the real challenge will be soaking up all of the food that Rochester has to offer without totally breaking the bank. But there are so many good restaurants around the city, trying the food at the places I still haven’t made time for is a huge priority.
Choose Wisely when it Comes to Repeats: I don’t necessarily have time to do everything I love to do, and everything I haven’t done yet, and finish my degree. So I want to be as strategic as possible with the things that I do with my time in Rochester– a second trip to the Strong Museum of Play may be nice, but is it as worthwhile as another evening at the Little Theatre?
Leave Rochester: One of my favorite things about living in Rochester has been having the opportunity to travel to lots of other cities in the US. Having grown up in a really rural area, my tolerance for driving is high, and the number of cities that are within a 5 hour radius of Rochester has given me the chance to really explore. In April, I’ve got plans to go to concerts in my two favorite cities within the radius– Cleveland, and Toronto. These day trips are one of the things I love most about living here, so I’m gonna take advantage of as many of them as I can fit into my ever busier schedule.
Don’t Sweat the Stuff I Don’t Get To: My biggest adventure this year, at least that is in the works at present, is a weeklong road trip that includes a stop in Rochester. I know that my relationship with this place is far from over, even though it’s about to change. So if I’m not able to make it to every restaurant in Rochester that serves a mean bowl of ramen, I probably haven’t missed my only chances.
I love Rochester, and it’ll be strange for it to not be my home anymore. But now it’s time to soak up the sun (or rather, the wind) and live it up while I can.