Life lessons from my summer in the city

Summer is half over, and it feels like it’s barely begun. Since leaving for college, I’ve found that summers are where I learn the most, usually from the School of Hard Knocks. Here are a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned in Minneapolis this summer:

1. It’s OK to get lost. Sometimes a quick trip to the hardware store turns into an 11-mile biking tour of Minneapolis. But that’s the best way to learn how to get around. On several outings in my time here, I’ve come across a cute coffee shop, seen a new neighborhood and discovered new parks that I never would’ve stumbled across if I hadn’t been lost. And I never would have met the nice couple that sat and joked with me at the bus stop where I stood with my bike as we waited for the thunderstorm to pass on my Great (Lost) Biking Adventure.

2. Commutes are what you make of them. It takes me around 30 minutes to get to my internship in the morning, and I’m lucky if I can get home in under 50. Driving back and forth 5 days a week adds up to quite a bit of time behind the wheel. As a true South Dakotan, I’ve grown up having zero patience for (and, really, zero exposure to) traffic, which means that going 20 mph behind a line of cars on the interstate is especially frustrating. I’ve realized, though, that my commute can also be a mini-road trip. I listen to music, pack a snack for myself, enjoy the solitude and, when in doubt, I can just call my mom, who always fields my traffic complaints.

3. Craigslist isn’t all “missed connections” and murderers. Like a stereotypical college student, all of my belongings fit in the back of my car. So when I got to Minneapolis, the only furniture I had in my apartment was my air mattress and some shelves a friend lent me. After a few days of sitting on a sleeping bag on the floor of my empty living room, I decided to take to Craigslist to find a couch. I ended up finding a futon for free from a nice couple who also happened to be Augustana alumni (Viking Pride!). Craigslist also led me to meet Beverly, a dog-lover who had a cute, vintage dresser to sell for only $15. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Craigslist just makes it all easier to sort through.

4. Less stuff, less stress. I’ve developed such a love for living simply. Before I moved to Minneapolis, I went through all of my clothes and belongings with a critical eye and thought, “Do I really need this?” Even after all that, I still have things in my apartment that I haven’t used once this summer. It’s so nice to live without clutter, and I honestly had no idea how few belongings I really needed. Besides, I’ve got a solid Internet connection. What more can a Millennial ask for?

Most importantly, I’ve learned the value of new experiences. I’ve learned that I am capable of moving to a new place and making it feel like home. Thanks, Minneapolis, for being so gosh darn “Minnesota Nice.”

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