12 August 2008

It’s a Wonderful Tahn

The article below was my first ever article published in any paper. It was published in The Pitt News on Tuesday, 29 February 2000. In my byline, the editor said I was never pessimistic. They didn’t know me very well.

It’s a wonderful tahn [“town” in Pittsburghese]

When’s the last time you heard, “Man, Pittsburgh sucks. There’s nothing to do ‘round here. I can’t wait to graduate and get out of this place”?

Whenever these words hit my ears, I cringe. I love this place enough to stay after graduation. How can there be such extreme perspectives on the boredom scale?

The bored among us can’t seem to find Pittsburgh’s plethora of cures. But as an independent who doesn’t just go out and drink, some small amount of creativity was bound to creep into my little ol’ head. I’ll mention some things here that came to mind.

The most obvious cure for boredom is to join a club or group. After determining things I liked to do, it was very easy to discover what groups were available to quench my active thirst. You can find out about student groups from Pitt’s home page, the student handbook or friends. The main advantage to groups is that they find activities that focus on individual’ interests.

As a Roman Catholic, I found that I wanted to learn more about Christianity. I searched for a deeper understanding and discovered many Christian fellowships on campus that met during the week, along with finding a group to learn more about Catholicism. In addition, there were also many other religious groups to study Judaism, Islam and others.

Pittsburgh is such a source of diverse cultural events that there are so many things to try – you just have to look a little. On Fridays, I go to an event called “What’s Cooking” at the Catholic Newman Center on campus. I met someone there who recently moved here to dance in the Pittsburgh Ballet Company. When I talked to her, she mentioned that she didn’t think that Pittsburgh, of all places, would be the center of so much art and culture. When I first came here from the Trenton-Philadelphia area, I shared the same sentiments, but I have since changed my mind.

While you’re here as a Pitt student, why not take advantage of free or very cheap student tickets to many cultural events ‘round the ‘Burch? If you think you hate ballet or opera, this is a great chance to actually see if you do. If you find you don’t like them, you would only lose the time spent at the event and maybe a little money. If you do like these events, you’ll be able to go back either with Pitt Arts or on your own. You’d have that many more opportunities to enjoy your newfound love.

There are many free weekly or daily resources that list happenings to suit your taste. In Pittsburgh and the City Paper list weekly events such as music performances, movies, concerts and just about anything that moves you.

You might be tempted to say, “But I don’t have a car to go anywhere.” That may be true, but there is an obvious solution: the infamous Port Authority bus. Pitt students have free bus passes on every Port Authority route. You can get a sightseeing tour of the countryside and the people of Pittsburgh (a cultural experience in itself). Even if you have nowhere to go, why not take an adventure? Take a day trip to the North Side, the South Side or Station Square. Travel to the far reaches of the Pittsburgh universe.

If all else fails, remember to keep your friends in mind. Do you know everything about your friends? Instead of going to a party where loud music is distracting, try just talking or hanging out with you friends, or play some party games such as Pictionary. Ask more serious questions to grow closer to your buddies. If you feel so inspired, break out the “Book of Questions” to get a discussion going.

Don’t put Pittsburgh down as being dead. Those who believe this aren’t asking the right questions. Pittsburgh is a mystery; therefore, there’s always chance to discover [sic]. It’s like people not pursuing their spirituality or being content in their ruts. If you do the same thing all the time and don’t try to expand your understanding or knowledge, of course you will get bored. As a result, you will become complacent about your situation or basically become disinterested in the pursuit and fall away.

Nobody ever accused Gutter Ball Master of being pessimistic.

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