Sights with Sami

A semester of Eau Claire adventures teaches Currents editor lifelong lessons

More stories from Sami West

Sights with Sami

If you want to fall more deeply in love with UW-Eau Claire, look beyond our campus — I assure you, it won’t disappoint.

A semester full of community adventures later, and here I sit, absolutely in love with the place I’m honored to call home for another year and a half.

From Sue’s Deluxe Bake Shop, the farmer’s market and Mount Simon, to The French Press, Crossroad Books and Ferguson’s Apple Orchard, I had quite the batch of well-rounded Eau Claire adventures this semester.

Looking back on it all, I’m in awe of all this community has to offer and grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from the journeys this column has led me on this semester.

Although consistently finding something to do was stressful at times, I often had little trouble finding a new place to explore. I’d mention being unsure of where to go and a friend would usually recommend at least one place. Often they’d even join me on that adventure.

On top of that, finding the time to explore new locations was sometimes a pain, especially when all I really wanted to do was hole up in my dorm room and watch Netflix for a few hours instead.

Or I’d come up with an idea, go explore it and really enjoy it — But felt as though I had nothing to write about. Sometimes there’s just no way to put experiences, good or bad, into words.

Many adventures did not lead to a story for some reason or another.

Sometimes there simply wasn’t enough to write about. Sometimes I’d already done something similar and written all I could say about it. Some did not lead to the best stories or to stories I wanted to share with anyone.

However, what I want everyone to know is that it killed me not being able to continue to bore everyone with more stories about yet another coffee shop I found. (You can thank me later for that.)

Another experience that went undocumented was when I decided to check out a trail. Incidentally, that ended up being closed.

Panicking and unsure what to do, my friends Kenadie and Katie ended up exploring Lowe’s Creek. Little did we know, that meant hiking … in a skirt.

Let’s just say I didn’t soon forget the bug bites covering my legs or the heart attack I had when bikers nearly ran us over on a path we had not realized was for mountain biking. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to write 500 words about that precarious experience.

What I’m really going to remember about this column is not the writing, but the memories I made in this colorful community with friends who were thankfully willing to take time out of their busy schedules to go on these adventures with me. (Thanks again, everyone.)

I’ll always remember the times I embarked on journeys on my own — the times I not only branched out within the community, but also took time for self reflection, whether by choice or because I couldn’t find anyone to accompany me.

In the midst of the busiest and some of the most emotionally taxing three months of my life, the adventures this column led me on are a huge part of how I was able to stay semi-sane this semester.

If you’re ever hesitant to do things on your own, my advice to you is this: don’t be.

As much as I love spending time with my friends, sometimes what you really need is to find some semblance of inner peace on your own.

The stress of this column and the occasional worry that what I was writing didn’t matter to anyone were worth it, because I learned so much about myself and this community.

Go explore. Go do. Take time for yourself, take time to have fun with your friends. Take time to explore this rich community a community that has so much to offer any person, no matter who they are or where they come from. Go beyond your dorm room.