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15 Things Everyone Should Do While In College

15 Things Everyone Should Do While In College

Ah, college—some say it’s the best years of your life. Indeed, college is a special time for most people because it marks the first time that they’re independent. Even if you still live with your parents while attending college, there is a sense of freedom. Typically, you are free to study the things that truly interest you and are surrounded by a diverse group of open-minded people. This makes it the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone.

Those college years fly by pretty quickly though, and you don’t want to look back with regret. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 15 things you should do while in college. Some are just for fun and others will be beneficial to your future career and life in the real world.

15. Join a club, sorority or sports team


What do you like to do in your free time? Whether your answer is making crafts, reading books, taking photos, talking about philosophical issues or going rock-climbing, we’re sure there’s a club or sports team at your college for it. If there’s not a club for it, you can make one! That’s the beauty of college. There are so many diverse people with diverse interests. You’re bound to find people with the same interests as you, if you are willing to look. Joining a club or sorority will give you some much-needed downtime. You will also make new friends and memories. Plus, you’ll have something (other than grades) to talk about with your family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can even add it to your résumé or grad school applications for extra points.

When you go to a community recreation center, you have to pay to join classes and sports. But, you don’t need to do so at college (and if you do, it’s usually a small fee). It’s really a win-win situation, all around.

14. Go on a trip abroad


Many of us want to travel. But, we don’t because we 1) are too broke 2) have no one to go with or 3) have no time to go. Well, college is actually the perfect time to go travelling. Most schools have clubs that plan trips abroad for a discounted price (which takes care of the issue of being too broke). There are also semester abroad opportunities, so you can learn and study while experiencing a new place (and that takes care of the issues of not having time to go and having no one to go with). By going on a trip abroad during college—no matter what it’s for—you’ll be able to spend time with your fellow schoolmates, too (again, avoiding the issue of having to be alone).

If you choose to go on a volunteer abroad trip organized by your college, you’ll have an unforgettably eye-opening experience and it will also look great on your applications for grad school.

13. Pull an all-nighter (for academic or non-academic reasons)


Every college student should experience what it is like to stay up through the night and see the sun rising. While we know that lack of sleep isn’t a good thing and we don’t encourage you to make it a regular habit, you should at least do it just to say you did. The truth is, when you hit your late 20s, you won’t be able to pull all-nighters the same way.

Now, it doesn’t matter why you’re pulling the all-nighter. It could be to write a paper, study for an exam or just because you’re busy partying or talking to someone cool. If you’re doing it for an academic reason, you’ll remember it forever as being one of those times you worked really hard and pushed yourself to accomplish something. If you’re doing it for a non-academic reason, it’ll be one of those stories you can tell your kids about one day (maybe).

12. Attend a school sporting event to show school spirit


If you’re going to go to a school for at least two to four years, why not make an effort to be a part of the school community? Show your school spirit by attending homecoming or other sporting events. The school team will surely appreciate the support and it’s a great way to mingle with your schoolmates. If sports are not your thing, then take part in one of those annual festivals your school has. Go all the way—wear your school sweater, paint your face in your school colors, post the pictures on social media and hashtag it with your school mascot name. You’ll honestly have fun and feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.

11. Go to a party (or throw one)


College and parties are two things that are almost always associated. In college, there will be many parties—and not just on holidays or special occasions, either. If you live on campus, or close to campus, there will be plenty of opportunities to attend one. Go ahead, if you’re curious. College is about meeting new people and having fun, just as much as it is about getting good grades and graduating.

If you’re not the party type, throw your own little get-together with a few of your closest friends. You can play board games, watch a movie, have a theme, listen to music and talk etc.

10. Get a gym membership


Gym memberships in college are cheap—or at least, cheaper than the ones at your local mall or in the city. If you’ve ever wanted to join the gym or buy a treadmill, but couldn’t afford it, college is the right time to sign up for a gym membership. Most colleges have state-of-the-art gyms (that is where their athletes train, after all) and it’s a great spot to meet new people or even spend some alone time to de-stress.

You won’t regret joining your school’s gym (as long as you actually make use of it). Research has shown, again and again, the benefits of exercise for both your physical and mental health. And staying healthy is so important, especially in college. You don’t want to get sick and miss important lectures or exams.

9. Take (or give) a campus tour


It’s preferable if you did this one well before graduation. Your campus will be your home for a few years, so why not get to know it? There are probably some awesome places on campus that you don’t even know about or have never seen! Taking a campus tour will give you some insight into some of these spots. Who knows? You might find a cool hangout during the tour or places you may need to go to for help one day (such as a wellness center or services that help you with your résumé).

And if you’re already pretty familiar with your campus, giving a campus tour to new students or potential students is a great idea. It will give you a sense of appreciation and school pride.

8. Experiment


We know that this sounds very ambiguous and suggestive. But, we’re really not trying to convince you to do illegal drugs or anything. By “experiment,” we mean try something new. It could be anything—dyeing your hair blue, going through a hardcore metal phase (or a country music phase) or befriending that kid that’s in all your of your classes.

College is the time to be bold and experiment with things, so you can see what your interests truly are. Don’t wait until you’re 40 to start experimenting; otherwise, the people who matter in your life may think you’re having a mid-life crisis (and rightfully so). In college, you have a free pass to do whatever you want. But, once you hit a certain age, responsibilities kick in and impressions do matter (especially if you want a professional career that isn’t in the entertainment industry).

7. Form a friendship with at least one professor


You shouldn’t just talk to a professor because you need a reference from them later on. They can usually see right through that. If there’s a professor you genuinely like or one who teaches a course you’re passionate about, consider forming a real friendship with them. Beyond talking to them during office hours, you should make an effort to speak to them even after you graduate. Professors not only have a ton of experience in their academic field, but they have a lot of life experience, too.

It’s always good to have friends of different ages because they can offer you different perspectives and you can do the same for them, as well!

6. Write something for your campus paper


Joining your school paper as a regular writer is something that you will never regret. It provides you with a platform, skills, connections and samples for a portfolio (if you ever want to write for a website or paper in the future). Even if you don’t write for your campus paper regularly, doing so just one time is great. It gives you the opportunity to make your voice heard. Is there an issue you’re truly passionate about? Is there a story you’re burning to tell? Go ahead and write it. Your work is guaranteed to be read by a large audience, since school papers are available just about everywhere on campus. If you like writing, this will also be a very fun thing to take part in!

5. Sit in on random classes


In college, there are some classes we NEED to take to complete our degree. We may not enjoy some of these classes, but we take them anyway. This may leave little room for you to take all the electives you really want to take. Seriously, there are some fascinating and fun courses offered in college these days. Some of the ones that caught our attention are: Religion and Disney, The Beatles, The Roots of Evil and Tree Climbing. Yes, these are real classes and there are so many other cool ones out there, too!

One of the great things about college is that professors don’t take attendance for lectures, so you can literally drop in on a random class and no one will notice that you aren’t enrolled in it. By doing so, you can pick up a new skill, find a new interest or expand your knowledge on a topic you love. Steve Jobs spoke about sitting in on a calligraphy class once and it later inspired him when creating fonts for the Macintosh.

4. Conduct research


There are so many benefits of conducting research in college. First of all, you’ll be able to dive deeper into a topic that interests you and possibly help in making a significant contribution to the field. You may even get your name published in an academic journal. Secondly, you’ll be able to get to know your professors on another level and you may be pleasantly surprised. Finally, you’ll be able to gain skills employers are looking for and gain experience that will make you stand out when applying for a job or grad school. Of course, those aren’t the only benefits of conducting research, but they’re the main ones!

3. Take a personal finance class


One of the classes you should sit in on (if you can’t enrol in it, for whatever reason) is personal finance. Too many college students are graduating with no knowledge about building a credit history, mortgages or personal investments. These may all sound boring, but they’re really useful in the real world. You’ll need to know about these things to buy a house and to save your money wisely so that you can retire in peace.

You never know, you may learn something in the course that can help you to save more money down the road. And getting financial advice can be costly these days—accountants and lawyers may charge hundreds of dollars per hour. By taking a class, you have the opportunity to ask an expert as many questions as you want and receive unbiased answers.

2. Get a part-time job or internship


Of course, the obvious advantage of getting a part-time job during college is that you’ll earn money to help pay your tuition or living expenses. But, beyond the immediate and direct benefit of working, there are indirect benefits, too.

Working a part-time job (or even doing an unpaid internship) can increase your chances of future career opportunities once you graduate. Employers usually look for someone with job experience and references. Working part time or interning can give you just that. You’ll also learn valuable skills, which cannot be learned by simply reading a book or writing a paper. On top of that, you may even land a position at the company you interned or worked part time for because you have the relevant experience and connections.

1. Volunteer

Volunteering can give you a sense of appreciation and a new perspective on life. By volunteering, you really come to understand that others have it worse than you do, so you should try your best to help them and not take what you have for granted. You can also gain many skills by volunteering and just like a job, the experience will look good on your résumé. But, don’t just volunteer because you feel like you need to do it—volunteer because you really want to. Do something you’ll truly enjoy and are passionate about.

Chances are that there are many opportunities to volunteer both on campus and within your school’s city.


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