15 Must-Haves on your College Bucket List
Getting out of your comfort zone, take advantage of opportunities.
By Nichole Wierzba, St Norbert College.
Getting out of your comfort zone, traveling the world, and taking advantage of the most opportunities you will ever have handed to you. That’s what college is all about and you should take advantage of every second of it! That’s why if you don’t have a bucket list for college, you should get one. And if you do have one, hopefully there’s some here that you can add!
1. Join a club
Benefits of joining a group on campus include making friends, doing something you’re interested in and boosting your resume. Whether it is a fraternity or sorority, a club related to your major, or an intramural team, joining a club is usually a great experience. We have a variety of clubs on campus, including Colleges against Cancer and even a vegetarian club. Our campus is directly on the riverfront of the Fox River and our school owns a speed boat for the waterski and wakeboard club to use.
2. Go on a weekend road trip
Nothing fun happening on campus this weekend? Go on a road trip! Pick a place where you and a few friends can kick back for the weekend. Anywhere you choose to go will be a fun change of pace from your regular routine. Worried about the cost? Here are 3 ways to save on that road trip.
Plan: Map out your drive and destinations in advance, go for free spots to visit, like taking a hike in the local state park, take in a sunset or take a walk downtown and chat to the locals while viewing the beauty of the town. Agree with your fellow roadtrippers about where you are going so you don’t waste extra gas driving out of your way unplanned. Do a quick maintenance check on your car before leaving, make sure everything is running smoothly. Save your coins in advance for the toll booths if you don’t have an easy pass.
Sleep: Look into your options for sleeping in advance, if you are in a group you might consider staying at a Hostel, We Hostels has a great app to find a place quick and fast in towns and cities. Couchsurfing has local hosts your can stay with, people open up their homes. Another option or Airbnb, rent a room, apartment or a unique space from a local for a night or longer, they have locations in 34 thousand cities with neighborhood guides on where to stay. These are all options to cut down the cost of staying in overpriced Hotels or Inns.
Eat: Hit the supermarket before you go and buy a few items in bulk, like waterbottles and snacks for your car guests. Grab muesli bars and fruit, these items can be very expensive when stopping at road side shops or gas stations. Pack a cooler to keep your drinks cold and protect items from the sun. When you hit a town, find out where the locals eat, if they are eating there it’s probably a good indication that the foods good and maybe even cheaper!. Look out for dinner and lunch specials and split meals with a friend to save on cost. Don’t order soft drinks or fancy drinks, stick to water to keep the cost down.
3. Ask your favorite professor for advice
Hopefully you’ve been lucky enough to make a connection with one of your professors. Taking the time to meet with your professor outside of class can be a great opportunity to get advice and even network. Professors are usually very willing and excited to speak with you and they have insight that is hard to find anywhere else. You can also ask your RA (Resident Assistant) for advice on getting involved on campus, they are willing to help you with all kinds of issues, from struggling to adjust to college life and roommate problems.
4. Skip class
Now I don’t mean do it all the time! But get crazy and skip a class to start your weekend early or go on a mini shopping spree with one of your friends. But be smart when choosing. Pick a class that won’t throw a pop quiz your way!
5. Participate in a college tradition
There is probably some sort of event that is unique to your campus. Be a part of it! A tradition on my campus is “Faculty, Flapjacks, and Finals.” This is a fun event that happens on the Monday of finals week each semester. Faculty of the college prepare a nice, late night flapjack dinner that is free to all students. So we get an awesome study break AND free food! Another annual tradition on my campus is College Community Celebration, it takes place every year before classes begin in the fall. There is a free picnic, fireworks and a band available to all members of the college and the surrounding community.
This may be something you’re very familiar with or it may be something totally foreign. Either way, college is the perfect time to go volunteer because you have the time to do it. I never volunteered until I went to college. It’s been fantastic and rewarding. My service trip was part of an organization on campus called T.R.I.P.S (Turning Responsibility Into Powerful Service). There are multiple international TRIPS offered each year-even a few international-each focusing on a different issue. My trip went to Mississippi and our focus was health awareness. We volunteered with multiple United Way organizations including the Y and a local food shelter. At the Y we worked with kids in the after school program and did a lot of exercising and teaching them the importance of staying active. On another trip we went to the University of Southern Mississippi and met with their nutrition department. We learnt about what they were doing in Mississippi to raise health awareness because Mississippi is the most obese state. Other items covered under TRIPS include Aids awareness, poverty/homelessness, habitat for humanity, and education.
7. Go to a college sporting event
If you go to a big school, this is a must! Support your school spirit and go to a game. Whether its fall sport like soccer, football or volleyball or a spring sport like baseball, rowing or track and field. There is always lots of cheering to be done and it’s a great way to spend the day with friends. But even if you go to small school, you probably have at least one team that is fun to watch. My school is pretty small but our hockey team has been NCAA D3 national champions multiple times, so heading to the arena is always an exhilarating experience. We Our mascot is the Green Knight and the mascot’s name if Norby Knight, in fact a Alum just released a children’s book about Norby Knight!
8. Get the recipe for your favorite dish from your cafeteria (assuming you have decent food!)
My cafeteria makes this dish called grape sunflower seed salad and it’s delicious! My friend got the recipe and made it for me for my birthday and it was awesome. I think this can be a fun, unique thing to do with your friends. If you live off campus this is a great way to test out your cooking skills and share those recipes with your housemates! (You can find more ideas and recipes on College Tourist’s Pinterest board “mom can you care package me this”)
9. Study abroad
This may be one of the biggest items to add to your list. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – you may never get such a great chance to travel like this!. The opportunity to study abroad has a limited time frame depending on what you are studying or involved with at college, so do your research early and weigh up your options. Visit the study abroad office within your school . Figure out if you should go in the Fall or Spring, does your school have their own professors and courses in the country you are interested in. Find out if the course fits in with your major and is the right course available through your school? I will always regret not studying abroad, especially after hearing about the once-in-a-lifetime experiences my friends had.
10. Go to a themed party
Partying is definitely part of the college lifestyle. But the typical house party can get repetitive after a while, so a themed party can be a perfect break you need. It always adds some extra flavor to a party.
11. Do something spontaneous
Do something you normally wouldn’t. Strike up a convo with a random person. Plan your own event on campus. Go streaking. No matter what you choose, you should do it at least once. If it’s not a great experience, it’ll at least probably be a great story.
12. Swipe some food from your dining hall
Not advocating stealing here! But most college students are on a meal plan for some amount of time during their college career. So take advantage of that! You pay a lot of money for that food and to your college in general, so swipe a banana or a muffin for a snack later. You’re technically paying for it anyway 😉
13. Visit a friend from home at his or her school
Make a little time for a BFF from high school and visit that person at his or her school. Not only do you get to hang with an old friend, you get to experience a new place and maybe meet some new friends.
14. Take a class for fun
If you have the time, why not take a class that you want to take outside of your major? Especially if you have electives to fill up. It’s a great feeling to actually look forward to class.
15.Go on a spring break trip
The quintessential college experience. If are able to make the trip, do it! If you are a student-athlete, they usually travel in the spring for training, like I did in my freshman year for softball. At some stage you will probably find time to get away on that fun trip with friends. It’ll be a time you’ll remember forever, guaranteed. I will be heading to Panama City Beach this coming spring break!