10 Must-Do's in College
“College is the best four years of your life!” That’s what you hear while you’re in high school preparing to go to college, and also what you hear from recent graduates who are out in the dreaded “real world.” Whether it’s the best years of your life or not is different for everyone, but college is an amazing time and you really should savor every moment you’re there. Your parents/aunts/uncles/teachers/books have probably given you lots of advice and instructions about your time in college. As a supplement to that, I’ve prepared a list of ten things I believe you absolutely must do while you’re in college.
Skip a class. Starting off with this may have you thinking my list of must-do’s will have you flunked out of college ASAP, but not the case. Many college students will skip more than a handful of classes in their college career. However, if you’re one of those incredibly dedicated students who would rather chop off a finger than miss a class, trust me on this one. Skip at least one class and spend that hour or more reveling in the rebellion of it! Whether you spend it getting an extra hour of sleep, joining your friends for happy hour, or running errands it’s a must. You will spend a million hours in class during those four years so give yourself a free pass on one (or more) of them.
Go to a local festival/show/etc. Attending school for four years makes you a part of the larger community where your school is located. Going to something that’s of local significance will help you to feel more connected to the community. In college, I went to local sports events, farmer’s markets, and festivals and each one was a blast and helped me learn something more about the city I was living in.
Stay out all night. Chances are you may be doing this more than once during your time in college, but if you’re usually in bed by 10 pm follow me on this one. Head out around dinner time (or earlier) and don’t step foot back in your place until 6 or 7 o’clock the next morning. You don’t have to be a partier to accomplish this one. You would be amazed at the fun and interesting things you can find to do all night. Some of my best nights in college were when my roomies and I would head out for a bite to eat at three in the afternoon and somehow end up not headed back to our place until after the sun was up. Plus, you get to hit a delicious breakfast spot before crashing.
Tailgate. My friends and I were parking our car at the stadium at 8 am on game days, but you don’t have to take it that far to enjoy it. Even if you’re not too big into sports, drinking, or louder atmospheres it’s a great thing to experience at least once. Being a part of such an excited atmosphere is catching, and you’ll find yourself swept up in it in no time. Play games, listen to music, eat delicious food, meet new people, and spend time with your friends in a different way.
Go to a sporting event. You may not be into sports at all, but you should attend at least one sports event while in college. Tickets are usually super cheap, or even free, for students and attending will give you a little surge of pride in your school. Being around so many people all cheering for your school’s team will help give you a stronger bond with your fellow students, and deeper feeling of belonging to your school.
Have a big family dinner. When you’re in college, especially if you’re away from home, your friends are your family. They’re the people you see every day and share your life with. So celebrate that with family dinners. My friends and I usually had family dinner once a week. We would take turns cooking and everyone split the grocery bill. Even if you don’t do it that often, it’s a good chance to be together, and reinforce the feeling that you’re each other’s family. You also may be surprised at who your family grows to include. Our first one started with five of us and by the end of college there were usually at least ten to fifteen of us.
Volunteer. Sometimes with the demands from our academic, social, and work lives our focus is narrowed to only the campus property lines. Volunteering in the community at least once will help to give you back some perspective on the big picture. It also feels great to know that you’re doing something for someone else and not getting anything in return. Plus, there are always a ton of volunteer opportunities available for college students.
Take a trip with your friends. Whether it’s a quick weekend trip, or a week long spring break excursion, it will be an unforgettable experience and bond you closer together. My friends and I made the annual 15 hour drive to Florida for spring break, trips to everyone’s hometowns, and more and they were honestly some of the best times. Even if you just drive one hour away and spend a day/night in a different place it always makes for great stories and is nice to have a change of scenery.
Hit a local’s recommended spot. College students usually frequent the same stores, restaurants, and bars; hence the “college crowd” reputation many of those places develop. If you stay within that scope you’re probably missing out on some real treasures. Ask people who live in the area for advice or tips on where to go. I used to ask the secretaries at my job for recommendations and my friends and I found some real hidden gems. There are amazing stores and restaurants you probably wouldn’t know about unless a local told you.
Take a class for fun. There are so many required classes to take in college it can set your head spinning. My advice is to take a class just for fun. It may have nothing to do with your major, but that’s alright. If I hadn’t become a teacher, I would’ve secretly loved to be a curator at a museum or an archaeologist. So I took unnecessary history classes because I loved it so much, and those were some of my favorite classes! My roomie was a music business major, but took a yoga class so she could have a scheduled exercise time. The point is, take advantage of the hundreds of classes offered and choose one that’s just for you.
Photo Courtesy of Siena College and Flickr Creative Commons
About Hannah T
I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.