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IU Essentials 101

Hello TWNer’s!

Welcome back to IU! Even though this year looks a little different, it’s still bound to be an exciting year! Whether you’re a returning student or new to campus, there are some essentials that every IU student needs to know to have a great year.

Let’s start with the most important topic: ice cream. Bloomington is home to many ice cream shops including Bruster’s, Jiffy Treat and The Chocolate Mouse. While you can’t go wrong with ice cream, my personal favorite is Hartzell’s, located on N. Dunn Street near Kirkwood. All of these shops are affordable and offer a wide variety of delicious flavors. Despite Covid, these locations are still open for take-out, so I recommend grabbing a few friends (and a mask) and going for an afternoon ice cream run.


There are also essentials when it comes to your dorm or apartment. On top of your basic clothing and bathroom necessities, it’s also important to decorate your new home! Adding a few IU themed decorations or even a few pieces of artwork can make your 10 month rental feel cozy, which is especially important since we’ll be spending so much time online this semester. Adding a few plants around your new home can also make it feel more comfortable, and some studies even show that when you study in the same room as certain types of plants, you’ll retain the information better. For example, orchids and succulents emit lots of oxygen which helps you to concentrate better and to get better sleep.



Going back to food, it’s essential to have Pizza X and Baked on speed dial. Whether it’s after a late night of studying or a night out (with masks and social distancing), either of these entities can be an IU students’ best friend for a late night snack. During the day if you’re looking for somewhere to eat, I recommend Mother Bear’s Pizza located on East 3rd street. Mother Bears is typically pretty busy, so I recommend an early dinner or late lunch to avoid the rush. Also, El Rey Azteca is a great option on East 3rd street if you’re looking for authentic mexican food without the crowds.

El Rey Azteca


IU has a beautiful campus and is consistently ranked one of the prettiest campuses in the country. Between Showalter Fountain, the Arboretum, and the limestone based buildings, IU has a lot of beautiful locations. However, it’s nice to get away sometimes, so if you’re looking for an afternoon or day trip, I recommend checking out Griffy Lake and Monroe Lake. Griffy Lake is a short drive from campus and isn’t a bad walk either. It includes trails for walking or running, and offers rentals of kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and rowboats, which can be a fun afternoon activity. If you’re looking to get a little further off campus, Lake Monroe is a great option. Roughly a 30 minute drive, Monroe Lake offers similar boating and hiking options. Lake Monroe also offers fishing, and if you’re looking for a weekend getaway, then you can reserve a campsite and stay in a cabin or bring your own tent. I think it’s an essential to visit one, if not both, of these lakes during your time at IU.

Source: Google Maps

These are just a few of the essentials that I think every IU student should experience or think about during their time at IU! Please let me know of any other must-do’s in Bloomington because I love learning of new places to explore! I hope everyone has a healthy, safe and fun semester!

Written by: Kara Lehner

Kara is the Communications Associate in The Women’s Network. She is a sophomore and is a part of the Communications Committee. Kara is also a member of Run Club, Net Impact, and CLD at IU. In her free time she loves to run, bike, hike, kayak and hangout with friends.

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