Downtown Winston-Salem has a lot more to offer than what students initially think.
When classmates and friends first hear I’ve opted to live downtown for my senior year, I’m often met with confusion and skepticism. In disbelief, they ask, “You’re living downtown? By yourself?”
“I do,” I respond. “And you should too.”
Most fourth-year students who choose to live off campus prefer to live in single-family homes, fraternity houses or nearby apartments. These residencies are attractive ,because they allow students to live alongside friends and within close proximity to campus. After being cooped up in a dorm room for three years, most of us are excited for the freedom that comes with living off campus. I, however, wanted a little more.
Living downtown exposes students to Winston-Salem’s uniquely beautiful culture that students may otherwise be oblivious to. Between Wednesday nights at Tate’s and dinners at Sixth and Vine, students are likely to overlook the nuances that make Winston-Salem so special.
Vibrant murals sprawl along walls and windows of nearly every building in the Art District, and the skyline is an ever-present reminder of the city’s rich history. Every weekend there is a different festival parade or celebration to enjoy. Boring moments are certainly few and far between.
Furthermore, it appears that many Wake Forest students are disenfranchised with the Winston-Salem community. Living downtown gives me the opportunity to interact with more members of the community. I truly enjoy the relationships that I have formed with local business owners, shop-keepers and the residents in my building. Living downtown has completely changed my perspective of the Camel City.
Downtown Winston-Salem has seen substantial growth in the last few years. For one, the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter has promoted the city’s revival. Many graduate students and researchers have flocked downtown to these new facilities.
In turn, local developers have constructed numerous new apartment buildings and lofts. Currently, there are more options than ever if you are interested in living downtown.
In addition, numerous new restaurants and bars have opened in the area. Even after living downtown for four months, I have yet to visit every part of the city.
My apartment allows me to break up the monotony of living inside the Wake Forest bubble. Every day I am able to find something or meet somebody new. Embracing the atmosphere of community has allowed me to expand my horizons in Winston-Salem.
I also enjoy the ability to remove myself from the stressors of school and enjoy being home. As an underclassman, I found that living on campus is suffocating at times.
By contrast, I have come to appreciate many aspects of campus life that I previously took for granted. Overall, I believe that living downtown has made my experience at Mother So Dear more holistic.