Cultural Experience | Hawaii

15 Things To Do Before You Graduate

A list of must have’s on your college bucket list!

Written by Terah Summers, University of Hawai’i at Manoa


I’m going to join the bandwagon on this one.  Studying abroad is truly a once in lifetime opportunity. It was the best decision I made in college so far. Not only will you make a journey across the world to a new country, but you’ll also take a journey into yourself.  The benefits of studying abroad are countless. I encourage every college student to travel abroad before they graduate. I promise you won’t regret your decision.

Study abroad photo image

2) Prove that Freshmen 15 is a myth!

As a college student you spend a lot of time sitting in lecture halls, libraries, and coffee shops studying. After studying so hard it’s easy to want to want to become a couch potato and eat a tub of ice cream. But don’t do it! Whenever you have a free day, ditch the laptop and get active. I’m not a huge fan of the gym because I prefer to be in the fresh air. I enjoy working out by going for a run, hiking, surfing, or kayaking.

 Image of Koko Head sunrise hike

3) Work on campus

One of the best decisions I made in college was finding an on-campus job that I loved. Working on campus as a tour guide has been a good way to earn a little extra cash and develop valuable, unique skills. I’ve also learned how to balance my time between classes, working, and hanging out friends. But by far my amazing co-workers are the best part of my job.

coworkers image in Hawaii

4)  Tired of the same old cafeteria food? Have “themed” dinners with friends!

Cafeteria food can get old and there’s nothing like homemade cooking. So get together with friends and throw “themed” dinners. Recently my friend from Thailand threw a Thai themed dinner. After two bowls of pad thai I was one happy college student!

Thai  food image

5) Go on a class excursion with your TA

One great memory I have was hiking to secluded tide pools with my marine biology lab class. What better way to spend a Saturday than swimming in natural swimming pools? TA’s can be pretty cool people when they are not grading your lab papers, so take the opportunity to go on the class excursions that they organize.

6) Ask for help during a professor’s office hours

Most likely during your college career you will have a difficult class. One of the most rewarding academic experiences I’ve had in college was going into my professor’s office hours. A lot of students are too intimidated to get help from their professors, but this is a big mistake. Because I plucked up the courage to go to my professor’s office hours, I was able to understand difficult material I would have otherwise never mastered.

7) Find out what your passions are and go for it!

College is a time of self-discovery. We are all trying to find out what we want to do for the rest of our lives, what kind of person we’d like to become. I know the economy is still not great and the goal to find a job after college, but don’t let that stop you from going after your dreams. Personally I’d rather risk trying to do what I love rather than settling for something I dislike. I don’t want to have any regrets in the future!

8) Find an internship that you love

Internships are a great opportunity that every college student should take advantage. Spend a summer interning with the Senate in Washington D.C., doing research on whale migration with National Geographic, or writing blogs to help other college students! Share your story with the College Tourist!. Look up different internship options early so you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

image of college tourist sunglasses

9) Plan an adventurous trip with friends

After college, you and your friends will embark on your next journey. So it’s important to make as many awesome memories as possible while everyone is in school. Going on an adventurous trip is a great way to do that. It doesn’t have to be a trip that requires months of planning. It can be as simple as a weekend camping trip.

10) Make meaningful friendships

Some people are naturally social butterflies and can juggle dozens of friends. But one thing I realized in college is that when it comes to friends, quality outweighs quantity.  Real friendships mean much more than knowing how beers your friend can chug. So make meaningful friendships that will last far beyond college.

image of friends in Hawaii

11) Live on-campus for at least one semester

Crazy roommates, cafeteria food, co-ed bathrooms. Yeah living on-campus can seem scary. But I’m really glad I lived on campus during in college. You meet lots of people when you dorm and you really feel like you are connected with your university.

12) Live off-campus for at least one semester

That being said living on campus is another opportunity every college student should experience. You have a lot more responsibility when you live off campus. There’s no cafeteria with dinner ready made for you and you have to pay rent on time or else you face eviction. But learning how to take on more responsibility is all part of growing up.

13) Face your fears and take a challenging class that you are interested in

When not forced, it’s easy to only take classes that you know will be easy. But at least once try to challenge yourself with a difficult class that you genuinely think sounds interesting. The challenge will be well worth the effort and you’ll feel invincible afterwards!

14) Study at the prettiest places on campus

This Japanese tea garden has been my secret study area at my university. Take advantage of the serene study areas at your school when you get tired of the packed library during finals.

Japanese tea garden image

15) Find a way to be featured on your college’s promotional material

Sneak your picture into one of your school’s brochures. Now you’ve officially left your mark!

uhm promotional material image

Terah Summers

University of Hawaii at Manoa | 15 stories

Terah is an island girl born and raised in Hawai'i. She is an economics major attending University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She also works at her university as a campus tour guide. In her free time she enjoys surfing, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, writing, reading and obsessing over travel photos on Pinterest. After returning from a semester abroad in Spain, she dreams of traveling the world, learning new languages, and making a difference! She is currently traveling in South America so check out here personal blog :

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