Yonder, ya’ll

Dear mental sanity,

Wintertime. Being constantly surrounded by myriads of people. Eating “curried tofu surprise” for the third day in a row at the dining hall. During this time of year, it can understandably be difficult to escape from the bubble that a college campus can create. The state of isolation, especially here in Boston, is only exacerbated by the far too often breakdown of public transit. But fret not: I have brought together several ideas for the occasional escape from campus into the world beyond. Bring friends along if you please, but for a complete solace approach, go solo. Like that one Jason Derulo song.

First, venturing off to cafés outside the immediate college-town area can be a relatively quick and inexpensive panacea to winter or isolation blues. While Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee and Munchkins will always do wonders, upgrading to the next tier can be an especially worthwhile investment. Local cafés in the nearby Davis Square area are prime examples. Diesel Café’s quick and efficient baristas serve perfect java jolts, and the accompanying industrial seating area proves to be the perfect spot to work or simply enjoy oneself. Many other options also present themselves in the vicinity, including hybrid frozen yogurt shops and more. But for the ultimate experience, I recommend heading down toward Fenway and spending an afternoon perusing the art at the Museum of Fine Arts — which for Tufts students is completely gratuit, meaning that you can spend more money at the nearby coffee shop, Neighborhoods Coffee & Crepes. Get some coffee, pick your favorite sweet or savory crepe and wallow in gluttony for a hot while.

Another option is visiting nearby music venues and shows. Attending your favorite band’s performance at smaller venues like the Middle East is a relatively inexpensive, intimate experience. Smaller venues are key, with the artists having more interaction with fans in these environments. Less popular but equally entertaining and reasonable for heading off campus are orchestral performances such as the Boston Orchestra or the Boston Pops. Special rates for students are often available at specific times. Remember that one time Yo-Yo Ma made a cameo on Arthur, making every aardvark in that joint swoon? That can be you on Wednesday, March 4 if you hurry. Late tickets are often cheaper, and splurging a bit for the non-cartoon-form paragon cellist is probably worth it.

In addition to the on-campus productions and plays, downtown theater district shows are another choice to explore other options. Again, student IDs are very powerful in the world of reductions and free tickets, and sometimes asking for leftover tickets the day of a show can result in steep discounts — so steep that you may be featured on the next episode of TLC’s “Extreme Couponers.” Watch out Kate Gosselin.

Lastly, volunteering options on campus can easily lead to off-campus opportunities. One of my friends was recently recounting how her performance group ventures to schools in the greater Boston area for shows, in which she was able to explore new areas while still remaining productive towards a positive cause. Tufts United for Immigrant Justice, which I am personally involved with, frequently ventures off campus to visit various cultural events in the area. Other health exchange programs work with organizations within the greater Boston area, offering regular opportunities to retreat from the realm of campus. Ironically, one of the easiest ways to get off campus originates from becoming more involved at our institution itself.

Freeing your soul,