When students arrive at RIT for the first time, everything seems completely new and exciting.

There are new people to meet, new places to go and a new set of things to do. However, the initial excitement does wear off after some time. The amount of time it takes is different for everyone, and a chosen few may never experience it at all, but for some students it takes less than a semester to get that feeling of being enclosed by bricks on all sides, the scream you can barely hold down whenever someone asks if you want to go to Gracie’s for the third time that day and the increased isolation from the outside world. It might be a good idea to try venturing off campus before you start feeling like RIT is all there is, all there has been, and all there ever will be.

Step One: RIT​

Everyone experiences an adjustment period when adapting to a new place and the same is true of students arriving at RIT. It’s best to first explore the campus. Get a general idea of which building is which, figure out where all of your classes are going to be and try to find all 17 dining establishments. If you can do all this without getting lost in the sea of bricks before classes get into full swing, you have an advantage over most of the incoming freshmen. 

After you get all of that down, you’re ready for the next step.

Step Two: Henrietta​

The next step is to explore West Henrietta, which is the suburb that surrounds RIT and extends all the way down Jefferson Road. This step is a little trickier--although it isn’t impossible to walk to Panera from RIT, it is certainly not something you’re going to want to do on a regular basis, which means it requires some sort of transportation other than your own two feet.

If you didn’t bring your own car to campus, it is more than likely that someone on your floor did. Some advice from an upperclassman; make friends with that person.

Although there isn’t a lot to do in the Henrietta area that isn’t food related, it is definitely worth exploring and offers a break from the at times claustrophobic environment and concrete that is RIT. Most chain restaurants can be found within a 10-minute drive, including anything from Mighty Taco to Red Lobster. There’s also a movie theater, the Marketplace Mall and, for those who are 21 and looking for a drink, Lovin’ Cup and MacGregor’s. 

Step Three: Rochester​

Once you get to know your way around RIT and Henrietta, you’re ready for the final step; Rochester proper. The city itself is around a 20-minute drive from RIT and there is a ton of stuff to do, especially if you’re used to living in a small town. There are several concert venues; the Bug Jar, Main Street Armory and Water Street Music Hall being the most prominent, with regular shows featuring both local bands as well as more well-known ones. All of the coffee shops in the area, such as Java's and Boulder Coffee, do cool things like open mics and trivia nights multiple times a week, and Rochester is known for its coffee. You can also explore the many museums that can be found throughout the city.

All in all, the area in and around RIT has more to offer than meets the eye, you just have to go out and get lost in it.