College days won’t last forever. You are going to make lots of mistakes ever trying to be prudent. Or you will avoid many of them just by going with the flow. You are going to learn many lessons and become wiser. Or you will realize that wisdom was always within you and it’s you who can teach them a thing or two. One thing is certain – you are going to remember your college days. Here is a bucket list of things you should learn, experience, or accept.
This is not a bad thing they end. The good thing – they last while they last. You think you are going to be friends forever, live in one neighborhood and your kids are going to be friends as well. Next thing you know – you choose different majors, transfer, go your separate ways in different parts of the country (or the world).
It’s okay. There is no one’s fault you fell apart. This does not mean that your friendship was not true or strong enough while it lasted.
You will probably fall in love with the wrong person. Or you will fall in love with the right one, but the circumstances won’t be right. Or you won’t find anyone to fall for. Being single when everyone is having the time of their lives dating can also feel like a heartbreak. On the bright side, you will learn that your heart can also heal and everything comes into place just when you least expect it to. It does – take this promise from a happy woman who once was a brokenhearted college girl.
If you are currently in your college years, you have already harnessed the power of social media. However, it can be so much fun to have your name on a printed article. Old-school and grown-up. Alternatively, write for your college website or start a blog about things that matter to you. This is a great experience and training in eloquence and disciplined work.
If you think that something is not right in this world (and of course it is) – speak up as loud as you can. Students have always been driving changes for the better. Now it’s your time to be vocal, to be hungry for justice and unstoppable.
With all the stereotypes that pop culture perpetuates, not being in a fraternity or sorority became cooler than being in one. However, do not brush this idea off too hastily. Fraternities, sororities, and student clubs are a great way to meet people. They create a home away from home, provide lots of social activities like dances or charity events, and provide an incentive to study harder. That’s right, fraternities and sororities have GPA standards for their members and sometimes even a set number of hours you are obliged to spend in a library per week.
Another great way to meet people is attending cultural events on your campus. Campuses are perfect spaces to experience diversity and share your traditions with others. If you have an opportunity to spend a semester abroad – grab it! This will broaden your horizon in ways you could not imagine.
You will be tempted to abuse all the perks and discounts you can get with your ID, from nightclub admittance to furniture. Why not? It does not have a finite number of uses, only the expiration date. However, I would advise you to focus on things that will give you valuable experiences and memories. Buy tickets on a budget and travel, visit every museums in your area and abroad. You will be amazed by the discounts they have for students in Europe. Some museums and galleries are completely free of charge with a student ID.
This is always a great experience, but trust me on this: you will never forget a concert that you attended with your college besties. Dance, wave hands, shout out in approval, have the time of your life! It tones you up better than any workout and raises spirits more than anything.
If you think that this form of expression is outdated, think again. Flash mobs are fun to plan, participate in and watch, but you may make yours into something more than a viral video. You can use the performance to get an idea across and spread awareness. Anyway, it creates so many memories! Do not miss out on this.
It has become something like a rite of passage. One is quite enough, however. I can guarantee that after one such session you will feel as if you cheated the time itself, you are unstoppable, you can get away with anything. It can get to your head. Make no mistake here. All your sleepless nights will catch up with you quite soon. However, you will need this one night as a lesson.
It will teach you some valuable things. The looming deadline has awesome inciting power. Your assignments are not as hard and boring as you thought they would be, and there is no reason to avoid them by procrastinating.
Your goal can be as ambitious as getting your foot in the door somewhere in your field. Alternatively, you might do some paper writing just to keep end meeting. Either way, it is a step toward your independence and a thing to put on your resume. Long gone are the days when you could flaunt your diploma and the employers would fight to get you. You should start building your career early.
You can have a LinkedIn account and start collecting references and feedbacks for babysitting, dog-walking, and other gigs.
Take pride in being a student. You enjoy privileges that are given only for a short time. Feel it to the full. Learn your Alma Mater, find out who first founded the school and why. Your fellow students are brothers and sisters, the alumni from previous years are your ancestors. You are united by the values of your school, so you might want to learn more about those.
Or throw one. Or as many as you can! Get nuts with costumes. Every night is Halloween! You will never have both the time and such a number of willing participants always at your fingertips. If you have ideas that you think are too extravagant – just speak up and see how your peers react. Trust me, they will love it!
There are great traveling opportunities for students that aren’t only fun but can help the environment. You might think that you do not have time to do it, but believe me, even with all the studying you have all the time in the world – compared to a grown-up nine-to-fiver anyway. The time is now!
Attend a trivia night at a local pub. Support your football team by painting your face their colors and chanting encouraging rhymes. Join pottery class. Try dishes you never felt like tasting. Try on different versions of you – explore yourself. College is the time when your brain is hungry for something new and new things actually develop it. Don’t waste this opportunity. I am not nudging you to venture way out of your comfort zone or try something that is dangerous or illegal. Just be curious!
College years is your chance to try styles you would never get away with outside the campus. Crazy hair color – check! Pajamas to classes – check! Stripes pair with plaid – check! Jewelry from recycled trash – check! Cosplay just because you feel like it – check! Just because you can.
College is a precious time when you are still among your enthusiastic peers, but you are grown up enough to be considerate and honest. This is the time to get out of your comfort zone and show the side of yourself you felt too insecure to reveal. Share your poem at a reading. Sing in karaoke. Do you standup routine at an open mic, play your music for friends. Enter an artistic competition with your drawings or photographs. Dance on stage. Dare, otherwise no one will discover you.
This does not have to be your major or your future job, but you absolutely must find something you are interested in. Some activity or intellectual pursuit to which you are going to devote your free time. This is a great way to prevent burnout and a kind of safety net if you will – and the college years are a great time to discover what that is!
This is your chance to become independent. There are no parents to accompany you, but there might be no friends either. If no one wants to take a class you are interested in, take it anyway, make new friends. Go to a concert all by yourself, even if you think you cannot possibly enjoy it without a company. You will find that this newly obtained ability to go to unknown places and do things alone confidently is a great skill for adult life.
Have fun imagining what you and your friends are going to become ten years after. Your future achievements, jobs, families, pets. Make a pact to not open the envelope before it’s time. I guarantee it will make you smile and maybe shed a nostalgic tear or two.