College Bucket List
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Student Life

College Bucket List

Take Full Advantage of Your College Experience.

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College Bucket List

Heading off to college is both exciting and slightly terrifying. You're leaving home for the first time and you'll finally be on your own. While I'm sure you're eager for the newly granted freedom, it is accompanied by a huge sense of responsibility and maturity. Don't waste your college experience attempting to fit in with a group you have nothing in common with, barely getting by with doing the bare minimum in school, or spending your free time watching TV or playing video games in your room. Here are a few things to add to your college bucket list to make the most of your time as a college student. After all, once it's all over, real life begins and you could be stuck spending your days attempting to survive your cubicle job for the next ten years.

Live on campus

I recommend living on campus for a least one year (preferably two). In fact, there are a number of colleges and universities which require students to live on campus for a minimum of two years unless you reside close enough to commute. You won't have the opportunity to take in the full college experience if you don't live in a cramped dorm room with roommates you've never met and share a bathroom with the entire hall. Forcing yourself into such close quarters with total strangers is the best way to meet new people. Let's face it, leaving home for the first time and entering a completely new environment is terrifying; living with a few other people who are experiencing the exact same thing as you can make the adjustment slightly less nerve-racking.

Join a club

Joining a club or sports team is the best way to meet other students who are guaranteed to already have one thing in common with you. You'd be surprised at how many clubs are active on your campus. There are plenty of athletic clubs which do get the opportunity to compete against other schools, academic clubs, and there might even be a club for your favorite hobby. Don't be afraid to join more than one if your schedule allows it. You want to make sure you'll still have time to put academics first and be 100% dedicated to the clubs you join. This means attending all events and team bonding activities, participating in fundraisers, and showing up on time to club meetings.

While I was in school, I joined the equestrian club team, a sport that I had been active in for majority of my life, and a few honors societies/academic clubs which required far less of a commitment considering meetings rarely happened. The school I attended also had a surfing club (pretty awesome!).

Go to a party (or two)

Everyone should experience at least one college party. Majority of you will most likely attend many many more. Again, you're out meeting new people and truly embracing the college life. College is about having fun, finding "your clique," tasting true independence for the first time, and learning more about yourself. Attending parties (when you're done with your school work, of course) gives you the chance to let loose, relieve some stress, and connect with a new group of people who aren't divided by class, club, seniority, or dorm building.

Attend an athletic event

Even if you're not a huge fan of sports, get dressed up in school gear and tag along with a few friends to support your school's athletic teams. You might even end up having more fun than you anticipated. If you get bored (or a bit too intoxicated...it happens) leave the game at half-time. At least you've experienced the student section at a college sporting event.

Get a part-time job

I doubt you can make it through these four years without getting at least one job. Embrace your independence and learn to support yourself. A part-time job will teach you a multitude of valuable skills. For example, time-management, prioritizing, budgeting, and plenty more. At the very least, it should help you get through the "broke college student" phase.

If you're extremely busy with school and sports, consider an on-campus job. They are much more flexible with hours than a restaurant or retail job would be because your boss wants you to put school first no matter what. Therefore, if you are only able to work three hours a day, two days a week, an on-campus job might be the best route to take until you become more comfortable managing you schedule and time.

(Attempt) to take on a leadership role

I used the word attempt here because although you may try to take on a leadership role, you might not necessarily be granted that position. But, nominate yourself anyway for an office position in one of your clubs. Keep in mind, you're less likely to be voted into an office position as a freshman or sophomore than you will be as a junior of senior.

If you're not elected the first time you're nominated, try again. The first time I was nominated for an office position on the equestrian team, I wasn't elected. I tried again the next semester and was elected VP; after a year, I stepped into my role as President of the equestrian team. This position magnified my leadership, time-management, and organization skills dramatically. I learned a real sense of responsibility for more than just myself, but my entire team.

Explore your college town

Chances are you're at least some distance away from home and in a new region at your school. One of the first things you should do is explore your area; and then spend the next four years continuing to explore. Check out local restaurants, fun activities, the best "hang-out" spots and local bars, the best beaches (if there are any), etc. Become comfortable and familiar with your new town.

My college town was Myrtle Beach. After four years, there are still plenty of restaurants I've never eaten at, shops I've never visited, and activities I've never tried. However, while I was there, I visited numerous small shopping and restaurant communities/complexes, took beach days, tried an escape room, took a helicopter ride, and participated in plenty of other touristy activities.

Take a few classes just because

After meeting with your advisor, you'll become aware of your mandatory core and elective selections. However, you'll have to fill a few other spots on your schedule of completely random, optional classes just to earn enough credits to graduate. Fill your schedule with your core and major classes for your area of study, but when it comes to choosing additional electives, pick a topic that you have a particular interest in, but aren't studying, or take a class just for fun. I took a swimming class for one credit one semester. My university also offered a yoga class. If you enjoy art, but are majoring in science, take a drawing or pottery class just for fun. You'll burn yourself out if you load your schedule with biology, chemistry, calculous, etc. You're allowed to enjoy yourself at school as well.

Complete an internship

An internship has a huge effect on how easily and the specific job you land after graduation. This is the only real-world experience and learning opportunity you'll get while still in school and you can't compare field experience with a classroom setting. Many employers will choose the student who completed an internship over the one who didn't almost every time.

Additionally, you might start working at an internship and decide you absolutely hate your area of study. It's better to find that out now than after graduation. On the contrary, if you're slightly unsure about your decision, an internship can help clarify that you have made the right choice with your selected major.

Rent an apartment with a friend

After spending a few years living on campus, rent an apartment or house nearby with one or more friends. This experience is completely different than living in a dorm. For starters, you'll learn how to pay bills and you won't have an RA monitoring your every move. Finally, some freedom! This is the next step towards living on your own and entering the real world; prepare yourself.

I believe these experiences are a must for every college student. Not only will they teach you valuable skills, such as time-management, leadership, responsibility, and many many more, they'll help you discover yourself and meet total strangers only to establish friendships which will last a lifetime. Leaving home is intimidating, but go out and make the most of this time now. It'll only help prepare you for what's to come.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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