A broken laptop saved my life this week. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in desperate need of some time outside of Rice University. My eventual venture off campus gave me a vitally refreshing reminder that life still exists outside of Rice.

Something awful was brewing in my psyche in the days leading up to my laptop’s malfunction. I couldn’t name my state of mind, but I could tell that I was on the brink of a major meltdown. I had only been at Rice for a few weeks, but the monotony was already becoming overwhelming. Having exactly two, unchanging schedules (MWF, TR) is agonizing. Waking up, seeing the same crowds at breakfast, taking the very same path to class each day, eating the same food with the same people and doing the same, boring work until late at night takes a toll on a body. I was getting fed up, but could not put my finger on why.

Luckily, my laptop started buzzing ominously one day which forced me to go off campus to get it repaired. I paid my uber driver to take me from Gate Four to the Apple store. He was not simply driving me, though. He was like Willy Wonka escorting me on a crazy boat down a chocolate river called Main Street. The only difference was that I had been to this crazy place before; I’d just forgotten about it since coming to Rice. After convincing myself that life was solely comprised of classes, working, the occasional Super Smash Brothers break and roughly one public party per week, I must have developed some sort of amnesia that wiped my memory of everything that occurs in the world outside of Rice University.

When I arrived at the Apple store, I was almost taken aback by the sea of consumers of all ages and swaggers. My laptop was fixed in no time, but I needed more time in public. I was only beginning to taste the elixir of the OC, and I was not yet ready to put down my cup. I worked in a coffee shop nearby for about an hour or so. During the hour, I picked up delicious fragments of the diverse conversations around me ­— I wanted to download as much “real life” as I could before going back to Rice.

I do not intend to say that Rice is a terrible, drab place. Rather, I am merely conveying the joys of tasting what life is like for people that are not college students. The week that followed my trip to the Apple store was great. I focused on switching things up, taking different paths, engaging with new people and generally doing things differently. All the while, I could recall the pleasant fact that I learned off campus: The entire world is still just as busy as it was before, even though I may not feel like I’m interacting with it as much. This may sound painfully obvious, but I’m sure that, on some level, most Rice students can derive some sort of satisfaction from this fact. That’s why I implore all Rice students to wade out into the territory beyond Rice. You may discover something worthwhile.