Regardless of which college you attend, these are 16 must-do’s to put on your bucketlist.
College is called the best four years of our lives for a reason—but it’s also such a short time we must take advantage of. Not only are the academic opportunities plentiful, but the callings for adventure are, as well. With greater independence and freedom, this is our chance to explore beyond our comfort zones and discover every facet of ourselves.
1. Attend a sporting event
Regardless of whether your school is a big Division 1 school or whether your campus steers away from the athletic scene, there is no better way to show school spirit than at a sporting event.
Football, basketball, broomball—standing amid a sea dyed your school’s colors serves a physical reminder of how all of you stand as one. In the everyday hustle of individual to-do lists, we often forget how we can passionately root for our greatest commonality—our love for our school.
2. See a student show
Along with an athletic scene, every school has an artistic scene, as well. Regardless of how significant it may be, performance and visual arts still contribute to the intellectual and inspirational atmosphere of college. We may be surprised at how talented our classmates can truly be, and we often find a greater appreciation when we remember how we were once selected among a pool of other gifted individuals.
Many shows don’t even require a theatre-obsessed, art-geek audience—just viewers with an open mind to have fun.
3. Spend time in your quad/commons
University brochures across the nation artfully depict their students having fun by placing the token photo of lounging on the lawn. Because this image has now worked its way to being a classic college representation, spend some time being “so college.” Most college campuses are beautiful in their own way, so take advantage of the scenery you only have four years at.
Toss a Frisbee or football around on the first warm, sunny day after a long winter. Spend an ordinary day hanging out with friends. Do some light studying outside between classes.
Amid the college hustle, fresh air can provide temporary relief to an array of anxieties. Homework is inevitably stressful, but it’s better to be stressed under the sun than cooped up in a library.
4. Eat at every dining hall
Whether your school’s food may be wonderful or repulsive, this is another way to explore every part of campus. Find a favorite food in every cafeteria, cement a fond memory dining at every place. The best memories made in college are often the mundane ones from the humdrum of everyday living—simply being in the presence of good people and good food.
5. Join a club
Create an identity for yourself. Become part of Greek life, an intramural sports team, a publication, a community service organization—the choices are endless (literally, as the fall club fair will show you.)
Whichever you choose, becoming involved on campus is the best way to discover your hidden passions and find friends with common interests. College is about finding your own niche, so when you can call yourself an athlete, artist, writer, speaker, enthusiast in a community of others—nothing represents acceptance better. For incoming freshmen, this is the best way to meet a large amount of people all at once. For continuing students, it is never too late to expand the network that college is for.
6. Paint the rock/wall/statue
Every school has one—the domineering symbol of university student life. It’s iconic and it’s tradition.
First, paint it with a club or organization. Then, defend it with all your pride and with friends by your side. When a group of people you care about all passionately work together to create a masterpiece, an exemplification of what you love, the day will surely be unforgettable.
7. Attend a party
If your school has Greek life, hit up a frat. Attend a house party, even if it is just for the sake of doing so. Simply get dressed up to go out with people you enjoy spending time with.
Nightlife isn’t mandatory to have fun in college. Not all students have to enjoy drinking, dancing, or loud music, but party culture has become an ingrained part of the concept of university. Regardless, parties still are easy ways to meet new people, to just expand your scope of friends. At least one college party experience is just fun to have.
8. Pull an all-nighter in your campus library
They’re 24 hours for a reason.
College is of course about having fun, but also studying hard. The “work hard” part of the “work hard, play hard” solution must eventually be held up. Ultimately, the main reason we are in college is for a degree, so it’s important to fulfill that part too.
It can be reassuring to walk into an exam or hand in an assignment knowing you put in your fullest potential and greatest effort. It’s a happy feeling to know you finished college having had a good time and also having tried your best.
9. Go out to coffee with a professor
College is the time when people care about your values, and your ideas. It is the time for your beliefs to take shape before you grow older, settle down, and perhaps become a little cynical.
Your limited time in school is one of the last times you’ll be in a community of academics and intellectuals—people who inspire you, people who are interesting and are interested in you, too.
10. Make the most out of your student ID
There’s definitely a reason we pay so much for tuition and fees, and this is simply the “fees” part of it. Though we can’t get out of such high fees, we can make the most of what we do have to pay.
Included, we have a “free” gym membership, discounted movie tickets and reduced prices downtown, first access to all the cool events in town—things we may never have again in “the real world.”
11. Take a roadtrip
Get to know your local area and college town.
If you ventured far away from home for school, this is your opportunity to break out of your shell, to discover an area of the world away from the familiar. This is most likely your first extended experience away from home, so take advantage of that. If you stayed close to home, be a guide to your out-of-state friends. Kindle new memories with new people in old places.
12. Go on a college spring break
When most people think of “college spring break,” it’s often associated with heavy drinking outside the legal bounds of this country, partying until you literally drop, and debauchery hat you allow yourself for one week.
However, the true meaning of spring break is literally a break. We’ve all toiled the entire year, and it’s our chance to have a vacation before returning to the mundane humdrum of classes. You can choose to party in the tropics, or you can just go on an adventure with college friends.
13. Spend one summer on campus
On campuses where it seems like the eight months a year you spend there are a perpetual winter, summer will be the perfect time to truly appreciate your college without the factor of cold in play. It seems as though the moment you leave campus after spring semester, it finally becomes beautiful.
Though the year is exciting with the entire student body there, there is an intimacy about the school with fewer people. You have the opportunity to meet people who may be outside your usual friend group. There are also unique local events during the summer—concerts, tours, festivals that you hear about all winter long.
14. Climb to the top of that building or mountain to see the view from above
At the end of the day, no matter how good of a day, you go to a beautiful school. Amid the stress of social and academic life, it’s nice to zoom out to see the big picture, instead of the petty details. Sometimes, all we need is a breathtaking panorama, and time to reflect on things as a whole.
15. Eat at that overpriced, over-portioned place downtown
Nothing says a good night like eating yourself into a food coma. Regardless of how good your dining hall is, it’s always nice to take a break from typical school food.
Freshman-15 is inevitable anyway, and when you hear so many people raving about the place that you “have to try,” it’ll be worth the trip, the money, and definitely the coma.
16. Put people first. Always.
Ditch dining at that place you’ve never eaten at, climbing that tower you’ve never explored, doing whatever else on your bucketlist—just to hang out with friends when they’re calling.
These bucketlist items are only made more meaningful when we’re doing them with people we love. We have the opportunity to spend every single day with these people, but only for four years. Time uncherished becomes wasteful, because before we know it, once our caps are in the air and our tassels are moved to the left. From there, we could be headed in different directions with new bucket lists for the next chapter of our lives.
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