10 Things to Do at UGA Before You Graduate

10 Things to Do at UGA Before You Graduate

Don't walk across the graduation stage without completely these tasks.

“College is the best four years of your life."

We heard this line at least five times moving into our dorm, at least 12 times at the past family reunion and god knows how many times from our parents. We all look forward to college: it is something that we dream of as a child and work towards in high school. After all of the waiting, lo and behold, we held that acceptance letter from Jerry Morehead (or Michael Adams for most of us), and still remember tearing up a little at the sight of the digital fireworks on your computer screen as you opened the admissions page.

We are the students of the University of Georgia brought here by different paths of life. One guarantee is that a majority of us now bleed red and black, have called the Dawgs to a crowd at least once (sober or drunk) and have made some of our best memories here in college. Four years can seem like an eternity, but as a second-semester sophomore, realization has hit home: our time here goes by quickly. While we are still here, we need to take part of the traditions that our school has to offer. In my opinion, here are the 10 things that we should do before we walk the stage at graduation.

1. Sleep on the downstairs couches in Snelling.

If you ignore the fact that so many bodies have laid/sat on these couches, they can be ideal for pulling an all-nighter. Once you pass the 1 a.m. mark, only a few people are there and you have all you can eat breakfast upstairs, making this one all-nighter that only you can experience being a UGA student.

2. Jump in the fountain and ring the chapel bell.

If you haven't already done this despite the fact that you have had plenty of opportunities, just do it! It takes 15 minutes and the overall experience is more alive after a long night downtown, preferably with friends and phones (#photoshoot).

3. Get lost on a Family Housing bus.

There are Do's and Do Not's, and the Family Housing bus is understood to be a Do Not. If you're rushing to get to your next class, yes avoid it. If not and you have time to kill (joke's on us), relax and wait at your nearest stop for the Family Housing. One thing that we all love is napping and, depending on the genre of music being played, it can be seen as just another opportunity for us to snooze in public.

4. Go visit the Iron Horse.

Located on a farm off of Highway 15 stands the Iron Horse. You have probably seen pictures surfacing Facebook of the iron horse, and yes, it is something that you have to see in person as a UGA student. It has been a part of UGA since 1959 and students even lobbied the university to move it onto campus for a short period of time. It is a part of UGA despite its location far away from campus.

5. Go to the Catholic Center for Midnight Pancakes.

If you didn't know this, the staff at the Catholic Center prepare a pancake breakfast at midnight each night during finals week. They have snacks, A TON OF CAFFEINE and tables/sitting areas where students can study.

6. Go visit the botanical gardens.

If you are into nature but do not feel like driving out of town to experience it, the botanical gardens are just for you. Housing so many flowers and plants, as well as nature trails, it is a great way for students to relax and find peace of mind amidst the college lifestyle.

7. Relax on a quad or the rocks outside of the MLC.

The long, rectangular rocks are there for your leisure and in the spring/fall, studying on the quad is an experience like none other. Kick back and relax after classes and use either to study or nap.

8. Get a hug from Sandra.

Stop by Snelling at any point from the morning to the late afternoon to meet one of UGA's celebrities, Miss Sandra. She goes out of her way to give each student that passes through the gates at Snelling a hug and can brighten the worst of days.

9. GA/FL!

Your preview of spring break. Go ahead and begin looking for a place to stay on St. Simons Island and pack for a day at the beach, bring your best red and black gear and definitely download the “Find My Friends" app. This is something that every UGA student needs to experience once while they are still in school to not be considered completely lame.

10. Trifecta!!!

At some point before you graduate, you should step foot on the grass of Sanford Stadium, the top of Stegeman and the dirt of Foley Field. It is just another way for us to live on the edge and break the rules a little while hopefully avoiding security cameras and well, security in general. After doing the trifecta, students can walk the stage at graduation knowing that although UGA made them into smarter individuals, they used the trifecta as a way to out-do and out-smart UGA.

Of course these are only a few of the many traditions that make us UGA students different from typical state university students, but these are 10 things that should be on your UGA Bucket List. Otherwise, your college experience is nearly the same as anyone else's and is just another thing about you that is basic.

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To The One About To Graduate

You may not know the next step to take after you get off that stage at graduation, but that can be the best part.

To the one about to graduate:

Congratulations! This is your final semester of your undergraduate college career. You have enjoyed a nice four (five, maybe six) years at your school, and all of your hard work, blood, sweat, and tears is finally about to pay off.

As someone who is about to graduate soon, I am not going to lie and say that looking into the abyss isn’t both thrilling and terrifying. There are few times in a person’s life when your life is absolutely full of opportunities.

There are so many possible choices for you to make as a new graduate. Maybe you want to settle down with your significant other and start a family. Perhaps you want to pursue a graduate degree and become a lawyer or doctor. If you are like me, you are possibly still deciding between many options.

The scariest part of the unknown is simply what it is: not knowing.

However, it should also be exciting. The future is ripe with possibilities, thrills, and sure maybe some disappointments. Not knowing is what makes life exciting.

Yes, your entire life has been clear-cut with someone telling you where to go next. This is the first time your choices are completely up to you, and that is something to celebrate!

You can be a YouTube star or a stay at home mom or dad, or you can travel the world and run a blog from wherever you find yourself on that particular day.

You could become a yoga teacher or a corporate lawyer, or maybe you realize you love education so much that you want to be a professional student for life.

For the first time in your life, there is no wrong choice or necessarily a right choice. You don’t have to go in a certain direction. You don’t need to have everything figured out, and it is okay to fail once in a while.

Your post-graduation years are meant for finding your way. Along the way, you may take a stumble or two, and that is perfectly fine.

As long as you continue to pick yourself up and commit to finding your way, you will find it eventually.

You may not know the next step to take after you get off that stage at graduation, but that can be the best part.


Someone Also Trying To Find Their Own Way

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Confessions of a Single Mother in Her Twenties While in College

My new motivation

It's hard to imagine that at a mere 23 years of age a piece of me is running around, screaming the few words he knows, tormenting the family pets. It's even harder to remember that a few short years ago, this was not my plan. And boy, was I in for a reality check.

Looking around all I see is my friends, my classmates, and my peers going out and having a good time, achieving and exceeding all their goals. They can all take road trips at a moment's notice, to nowhere in particular. Sleeping until 3 in the afternoon on any day is a thing of the past.

What people do not realize is, as a mother in her early twenties, I was made to put many things on hold. A whole new life was in my hands. This was my new life.

Before being a mom, I thought I knew what it was like to be stressed, to be busy. My anxiety and depression were at all time highs. Most of the time I wouldn't make it half a day without a potential breakdown. That was my new life.

I had so many goals set long before the surprise blessing of motherhood. The cold, hard truth was that I was no longer the most important person in my life. Why do I keep reiterating that fact? Because, though I have always been a very selfless individual, I was now thrown into an entirely new level of it all. I know I am not alone.

Now, I balance a work life, college attendance, and try to still achieve all the goals I set out for all those years ago, somewhat changing my path as I have gone along. No more are the late night study sessions or cramming for exams. Nowadays, one must meticulously plan every possible free moment and be open to the fact that nothing will ever go to plan.

Having a support system makes it all feasible. I can see an end, though not within reach quite yet. I am doing so much on my own, little support, but the support I do have makes my goals achievable after all. It reminds me that this does not mean I have to give up. I have a little person that looks up to me, he relies on me. In the big scheme of things, he will be just as proud as I will be of myself.

It is not all bad. The staggering amount of love I have for this tiny human is intensely overwhelming, as is the love he has for me in his smile when he sees me walk through the door after a long, hard day of work. He is my new motivation, where before motivation was lacking. The things I now do for him I once dreaded doing. Study sessions are no easier to get through, but knowing that it will all pay off and provide a sense of stability for my child and myself is rewarding and pushes me through the next chapter and beyond.

You cannot let life get in the way, use your experiences as a fuel to the fire, as I have done. I am prepared for it to take longer, I am prepared for the sacrifice of missing out on a few things while he is young, and I know I will be able to provide for him when he is older and be able to prove to him anything you set your mind to is possible with enough hard work and perseverance.

I am a college student. I work full time. I am a Mom. I CAN do it all.

Cover Image Credit: Harsh The Blog

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