[caption id="attachment_5312" align="alignright" ]Campus Baskets and Walk Campus Baskets and Walk[/caption] Is it just me or has this summer flown by?! I feel as if the older we get, the faster time seems to go.  Maybe it is because life becomes more entertaining as the years go by, and you know the saying “time flies when you’re having fun!” As the summer winds down, I am now preparing for the upcoming school year. As a sophomore now at Purdue University, I can definitely say that after just one year of college, I have grown and learned a lot. I am now another year older and another year wiser; however, I will forever carry with me my experiences from day one as a boilermaker.   [caption id="attachment_5313" align="alignleft" ]Boilermaker! Boilermaker![/caption] Boiler Gold Rush is where my new chapter in life began. It is quite intimidating waking up that first day without your family and heading out to meet the other fellow freshman who are equally as nervous as you, but the nerves almost instantly disappeared once I was placed into my group. We were all strangers, yet all excited to meet new people. Each group has a team leader, and every single one of them are absolutely wonderful people! They are so full of energy, passionate about Purdue, and a huge helping hand. They are basically your first friends at Purdue, along with your group. The entire week features all new, fun activities for each day. You experience everything from what it means to be a true Boilermaker even down to learning new dance moves, chants, and games. The hype never dies down, and they certainly know how to wear you out, but the experience is irreplaceable. You also get the chance to break off into your majors to meet people outside of your group and become familiar with faces that you will soon see in the classrooms.   After a week of traveling with your clan from sunrise to way past sundown, you become a family. I am still good friends with the majority of my group to this day, and I’m very thankful I was able to meet such great people through the amazing opportunities at BGR.  I can honestly say that Boiler Gold Rush set a perfect precedent and really prepared me for the following months heading into my freshman year. [caption id="attachment_5314" align="alignright" ]Triple XXX Burgers! Triple XXX Burgers![/caption] Attention incoming freshman: I have advice for you! When it comes to those who are directionally challenged like me, hope is not lost while walking around campus and neither will you! Thankfully, BGR is a huge walking escapade throughout every bend and turn of the Purdue campus.  It gets you extremely familiar with the area. However, there are still times to this day where I don’t know how to get to certain buildings. My best recommendation is to download the Purdue app for your smart phone. It features a map that uses GPS to show exactly where you are, your Purdue email, the menus for the dining courts, bus routes, and even what labs are vacant and available for use around campus. It is a major resource that I continuously use. Another piece of advice is to ATTEND YOUR CLASSES! I know college is more flexible about attendance than high school; however, class is vital time that should not be missed. Just a one-day absence of class can put you behind quite a bit. College is a fast paced learning style, and you have to be on your A-game to keep up. Finally, EXPERIENCE the college life instead of just getting by through the academic side of it. Join groups out of the +200 choices that Purdue offers, work out at the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center, grab a coffee at LavAzza, study outside by the fountains and wildlife, grab lunch at the Purdue Memorial Union, attend Purdue festivities, eat a Duane Purvis All-American peanut butter burger at Triple XXX, grab a Den Pop at the Den, and the list continues. There are never ending ways to get involved as well as learn more about yourself through the simple things in life. [caption id="attachment_5315" align="alignright" ]Wotan Wotan[/caption] The fun doesn’t stop outside of campus; I challenge you all to venture out into the Greater Lafayette area. Historical features, exciting downtown life, and beautiful nature are all located right next door to Purdue in Lafayette and Battle Ground. You can get in touch with your nature side by traveling to the variety of parks and trails in both Lafayette and West Lafayette. Refresh your historical memory by touring the Tippecanoe Battlefield and museum. You can even get an up-close encounter with wolves at Wolf Park. There are many adventures waiting to be taken outside of Purdue’s walls as well as within. The short years spent at Purdue will be treasured as some of my all-time favorite memories. In the short time I have already been here, I’ve learned so much about the area, academics, others, and even myself.  Sometimes the smallest joys and the simple things lead you to exactly where you need to be. Enjoy these times now by exploring new activities, meeting new people, and pushing your boundaries because these times don’t last forever, and we surely won’t get it back. There is no better feeling than that of the Boilermaker life! Visitor Information Specialist, Kaley, shared this blog.