If your radius of travel extends from Margaret Morrison to Hamburg Hall, here is a helping hand. Wake up one morning, brush those pearly whites and stare deeply, longingly, into the mirror. Is the person staring back at you a well cultured individual ? or a slave to those technically driven whips, decisively thrashed by the hands of Carnegie Mellon?s pharaohs?
If your significant excursion for the weekend is to the film in the University Center, hop on the bus with your favorite Underground sweetheart. The bus?s first stop: Outside of the Carnegie Mellon bubble. Dieseling down Fifth Avenue and over the bridge, a new frontier opens. Similar to your sweetheart?s supple lips awaiting a passionate kiss, the South Side opens up to you.
The vast expanse represents one of the region?s most underutilized resources, open and accessible to Carnegie Mellon students. The bus stops, kneels, and with a quick flash of your CMU ID you are released into the wild. What is this magical place? Compared to campus, you are now being exposed to some true diversity. Quickly, you usher your sugar across Carson Street for a quick cup of coffee and toke on the hookah at the HKAN. Smokingly satiated, your night is ready to begin.
While throwing back a beer and taking a shot at neighboring Margaritaville and enjoying the sounds of a local band, you begin thinking about how you haven?t heard good jazz and blues since you left home for CMU. Fear not; within five blocks there awaits Paparazzi, a decent Italian restaurant and better bar with live jazz and blues three nights a week. Walking into this rat-pack throwback establishment fills your mind with thoughts of jazzy notes and strong gin and tonics. TJ the bartender takes your drink order and whips up from fresh mozzarella and tomato with a house-blend dipping olive oil. The band on the quaint stage consists of two horns, an upright bass and a female vocalist. Tossing back another mixed drink and a shot, out the door you go.
Even though they forgot to card you at that last establishment, you are armed with that piece of plastic that says ?21,? and thus the heavy lifting can begin. Taking your New House hottie?s hand, you march down Carson Street, the numbers descending, and head for some more live music and well-priced drinks. Gingerly crossing the street, dodging motorcycles and other meandering pedestrians, you arrive at Club Caf?. Patron, head in side for some libations and reverberations. Pay a couple bucks for a cover, and take down that first drink. ?Ah that sweet nectar,? you think, and you begin to get introspective.
You have been at Carnegie Mellon for almost a year now, but this is the first time you ventured out of that seemingly ?safe zone.? Multicultural fairs and ethnic food expositions introduce students to cultures never before experienced, but these events simply cannot teach what one can learn in the living field. Instead of being lectured by, have a conversation with, your professors. One will realize that those forty and fifty-somethings have a whole life?s experience tucked under their belts.
Know this, young explorer: There is nothing more unsafe than restriction and social censorship. The educational opportunities at Carnegie Mellon are worth the price of admission, but the overall structure of general student life lacks depth. The best corrective action is direct action. Thus the next time you are pondering what to do this Saturday night, take a risk. When you return, you can hop back on AIM and e-tell your friends all about it.