College at College Park!
My journey with the University of Maryland started four years ago when I came to meet my cousin. I knew right away that this is the place where I am going to go to school. It was not just the beautiful, green campus or the expansiveness of the campus but the fact that there are over 60,000 students going to school here. The community feel of the college became evident very soon. Driving around the campus, I realized why the area is called College Park. It is the modest things like the rock climbing wall, golf course, bubble tea cafes, squirrels munching on pine cones and acorns in the amphitheaters, suited bike riders and the larger than life football grounds that made me fall in love with College Park.
My tryst with all the other interesting and fascinating things started last fall when I finally came to start school in the MBA program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. On my arrival, I was inundated with so much information on the things I need to experience to make the best of my two years. Yes, Washington, D.C., is close by but will I ever have to go that distance to have fun? NEVER! School will not let you. So let me start by talking about things that can interest the sporty heart. Athletics is known to be in University of Maryland’s heart and soul, so be it football, baseball, basketball, softball, track and field, or field hockey – there is a field for all of it.
The Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium has been home to national championship football and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams since 1950. It has served as a host to the Queen of England at a football game and has seen budding athletes rise and shine to glory.
The Ludwig Field, named after lifetime Terrapin (Marylanders are called Terps) friends Bob and Louise Ludwig, is responsible for popularizing soccer and has hosted several legendary NCAA tournaments. It has an all-weather track for the track and field enthusiasts.
The Xfinity Center is a place where alumni and current students come together to attend their favorite sports such as basketball and wrestling. Though this is a fairly recent addition, it can accommodate around 18,000 fans, thus living up to the “best student activity center” arena in the country. There is also a pavilion that serves as a learning ground for the flourishing hockey players at Maryland.
The Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium has been home to the Maryland Baseball team since 1952. This stadium has seen victories against more than top 25 teams since its existence.
Apart from these sports, College Park also has a golf course on 3800 Golf Course Road, College Park. The 35,000 sq ft, plantation style clubhouse hosts not only college students but also surrounding golf communities.
College Park also accommodates a tennis center. Right by Paint Branch Parkway, the tennis center has 27 tennis courts – 12 indoors and 15 outdoors for the all season fervent tennis fans.
This is just a snapshot of the sports facilities at College Park, for activities such as swimming, rock climbing, racquetball and working out, among others there is Eppley Recreation Center.
Now for the artists, from the school of music, dance, theatre and performance studies, and the communities around College Park there is The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. It has everything from a recital hall to a dance theatre in the venue. Events such as Bandaloop and Daraja Ensemble are some of the more widespread events at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
Now that we know what our athletes and artists are going to do, let’s shift our focus to the scientifically inclined minds. The College Park Aviation Museum opened in 1998 and is affiliated to the Smithsonian Institution. It is a 27,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to preserving the innovations and fostering path breaking research. This museum serves as an opportunity not only for the students but also for families to bond. There is also a shooting range and an escape room very close by to please the adventurous souls.
Lastly, there is an array of restaurants that satiates a global palate. Running into your friends is a common occurrence at these restaurants as all of these places are operated by the students of UMD. Some of my favorite restaurants are Shagga Coffee for Ethiopian, Potbelly for sandwiches, Tiffin for Indian, Sweetgreen for salads, Bobby’s Burger Palace for burgers (like that was not obvious enough), Aroy for Thai, Hanami for Japanese, Shanghai Café for Chinese, Blaze for pizza, and Nandos for some authentic Peruvian chicken. And, on a regular Friday night we wait in long queues to have a drink or three at our favorite bars such as Cornerstone, RJ Bentley’s, and Looney’s, among others.
So college in College Park has been an amazing experience not only because of the fact that I have so many things to in my spare time (not that I have a lot of it being an MBA student) but also because I get to experience some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets. I have seen some of the most amazing shades of purple, pink and blue at these hours. I enjoy them so much so that I wake up early on the weekends just to see the pretty skies.
The opportunities to explore are endless here and if you are considering schools, no matter the field, University of Maryland should top your priority list not only because of the range of things to do around the campus but also because it has one of the most phenomenal faculties and competitive programs in the country.
MBA Candidate 2018