Take out pen and paper. Without thinking too hard, write down a list of things you want to do in college. Do you you’re your list? Now, check out the list below, and see how many items match your list. If some of these things aren’t on your list, you should really consider adding them. This list of opportunities and experiences really bring your four years at college all together in a comprehensive way for both your academic and social life. If you haven’t achieved these goals already, buckle down and start crossing things off your bucket list!
1. Study abroad
Just go up to any college graduate and ask about their most memorable experience in college. The answer, I guarantee, is the always same: studying abroad. Living and attending college in a faraway land can be intimidating, but with risk comes opportunities. Studying abroad gives you a chance to experience foreign cultures, master new languages, and make friends all over the world! Get out of your campus lecture halls – book a flight to visit ones around the globe.
While you endeavor in your studies abroad, you should also take a moment to volunteer in foreign countries (what a lucky coincidence). You can also volunteer through programs offered by organizations like Projects Abroad. But don’t forget about all the important causes and amazing nonprofits nearby either! Many college student unions will list local volunteer opportunities, and it’s always easy enough to do a Google search for “volunteer opportunities [your city]” to find plenty of options.
3. Join a campus club
In high school, you might’ve joined a few clubs and played some sports. Or maybe you weren’t given many options to choose from. Well, college is a whole new world—and it’s all about exploring your interests. You get to decide which classes to take, but even better, you have the privilege of choosing which student-run organizations to join—or maybe even start yourself! What sparks your interest? Music, arts, sports, service, religion, politics, or culture? Whatever it is, there is probably a club on your campus for it, so go explore your passion.
4. Work at internships and jobs
Don’t forget to continue building your résumé in college. Working as an intern provides firsthand experience of prospective careers in your field (or fields!) and enables you to gain professional skills. Some internships offer college credit and/or pay. And if you (like so many of us) need a source of steady income, consider working a part-time job too. You can learn to be more prudent and responsible while supporting yourself financially.
5. Make the dean’s list
A dean’s list is an honor bestowed on students who are excelling academically. The requirements vary from one school to another, but the GPA cutoff is generally around 3.5. Certainly, making the dean’s list is no piece of cake, but the challenge is worth an attempt. Having your name on the list can lead to scholarship opportunities and invitations to special celebratory events (aka parties). Achieve your full learning potential in college—after all, you are there to learn.
6. Pull an all-nighter
You are probably imagining one of two pictures: first, you’re sitting at your desk, furiously studying for your finals and internally screaming, “Sleep is for the weak!” Or, second, you're chatting, dancing, and snacking the night away with your closest friends. Whichever scenario you prefer (warning: the first one might be inevitable), make it your goal to pull an all-nighter sometime during your college experience. Watch the sky from sunset to sunrise. Make unforgettable memories with your friends. You might feel tired the next day, but you won’t regret it. (But just don’t make all-nightghers a habit.)
7. Connect with your roommate
Most colleges require freshmen to live in dorms, so you can cross this item off your college to-do list quite easily. But even if you decide not to stay in the dorm your freshman year, seriously consider living with a roommate at one point in your college life. Living with someone besides your family can be uncomfortable at first, but you learn to be more considerate of others. Also, with a roommate, you can share the burden of housework, rent, and the fear of growing to be independent. Who knows? Your roommate might be your long-lost soul mate.
8. Explore your dating and love life
You’re in college, you’re young, and you’re surrounded by a bunch of other (super cute) students who are so much like you. Before you know it, you’re in love—or maybe just dating around a bit. Enjoy it! Campus can be a surprisingly romantic place to go on dates: Enjoy a picnic for lunch, watch a school theater performance, and finish the night with a walk around the campus. College is a great time to explore what you’re looking for in an ideal partner or what type of non-exclusive dating habits you’re comfortable with. Figure out what’s right for you and makes you happy. Don’t put pressure on yourself to find The One, but also don’t hesitate to let yourself fall in love in college.
9. Attend a school sports event
Not a sports fan? It’s okay! You don’t have to know or even love any sports to enjoy a college game, including soccer, basketball, football, baseball, lacrosse—you name it. Spend a Friday night with your friends, in the heat of the games, cheering excitedly for your school’s team. Dress up in school colors to show support. Go crazy, and unleash your school spirit.
10. Go on a road trip
This is every college student’s dream. And it’s never too late to make it come true. Even just a few weeks before graduation, go on a road trip with your friends. You don’t have to spend hours or days planning a perfect trip. There is a ton of fun in the spontaneity of road trips, and with your closest friends by your side, any obstacles along the way can be overcome. In fact, the more challenges you face during your travels, the more memories you will later have to cherish throughout your life. Don’t think about it too much. Just hit the road.
Fortunately, your college bucket list doesn’t need to end here. These are just some universal items that most college students should be checking off their list. And if some of them aren’t your thing, that’s okay too. For instance, some people may not be into dating at all and will choose to focus on the other items on the list. A bucket list should be personal to you. But if you want more ideas, many colleges have bucket lists unique to their campus traditions, so be sure to check those out for your schools of interest or college you’re already attending. Have fun!
Find more great advice and ideas on how to make the most of your time in college with the blogs and articles in our Student Life section.