Featured Image

The College Student's Ultimate Bucket List

Here are 10 things every college student should do this year that are sure to create lasting memories.

When you first get to college, everything from decorating your room to getting a cup of coffee at the campus café is exciting. But as soon as everyone settles in and begins their regular schedule, the everyday, mundane tasks of college life don’t seem too special. It’s so easy to get caught up in the typical, stressful student routine that sometimes we forget that college can be educational and fun. Below are 10 things every college student should do this year that are sure to create lasting memories.

Indulge in late-night off-campus food adventures

Staying up to study for a test? Hungry after that party? College is the prime time to indulge in some midnight food cravings off campus. Especially if your campus is surrounded by a “college town,” many food places catering to students will be open until at least midnight, if not later (24-hour diners FTW). Another popular food adventure is food trucks, which are fast and affordable. After college we may not have the luxury (or metabolism) to just leave our homes in the middle of the night to satisfy our food cravings. Take advantage while you still can!

Cook a meal with your friends

Another food-related college bucket list item is cooking with your friends. Up until this point in your life, you’ve probably had a parent or another adult cook most of your meals for you. Unless you live off campus and/or did not purchase a meal plan, you probably still eat food that other people have prepared. When you have some spare time, try your hand at cooking an entire meal with your buddies. It will be a funny learning experience (not to mention helpful life skill) that will show you how much time and energy it actually takes to prepare a healthy, satisfying meal. 

Sit in on a random class

Most professors will not mind if you sit in on their class for a few sessions, even if you are not officially enrolled in it. (And if you e-mail them or stop by their office hours to ask permission, you might strike up a meaningful conversation about why the class interested you in the first place. Can you say, “Hello, potential mentor”?) If you go to a big school where class sizes are a couple hundred, no one will even notice. Sitting in on another class you’re interested in but couldn’t quite fit into your schedule is a great way to learn something without all the stress of worrying about tests or grades. My roommate, an Engineering student, once sat in on my international relations class, which gave her a different perspective on things outside of her usual physics lab classes.

Study abroad

More and more students nowadays are studying abroad, with some colleges even requiring their students to go abroad at least once in order to graduate. College is the perfect time to travel and study your passion before you’re tied down by a career. Also, living alone in a new country will basically force you to become more mature and worldly as you adjust to life in another culture. Luckily, most colleges will allow a student to go abroad for the same price as they would pay at their home institution, so there is almost no excuse not to embark on this amazing adventure.
Related: All the Study Abroad Advice You'll Ever Need 

Participate in/watch a protest

As we take classes that expand our worldview and develop our own morals and ideals, we become more politically and socially aware. Historically, college campuses are places where major social change movements have begun. College students are generally very passionate people who are excited to rally for a cause they stand for, which includes holding organized on-campus protests. Although you may not be very interested in politics or feel very socially aware, reading about on-campus protests and talking to people who are participating in it can really open your eyes and help you reflect about the issues around you. When my school held a week-long sit-in in response to poor faculty and administrative action, I began to talk to people despite my fear and I grew so much in awareness and knowledge about the social issues directly affecting my community.

Get an on-campus job

If you are on work-study like me, the first thing you did at college was probably get an on-campus job. Working part time, even if all you do is the grunt work, teaches you dedication and perseverance. Sure, it may not be super meaningful to your future career, but internship recruiters and future employers will appreciate the fact that you could balance school and a job to support yourself financially. Working my two on-campus jobs has taught me a lot and gives me some extra spending money so I can go out with my friends.

Splurge at your college bookstore

I remember the first thing I bought at my college bookstore: my expensive $50 college sweatshirt. After that I looked around at all the college-logoed binders, pillows, clothes, and other school supplies and decided that it was just too expensive. People say to stay away from the bookstore for a reason, after all. However, buying one or a couple of expensive items from your college bookstore is okay and can be quite memorable years after you graduate. So if you are a really frugal college student like me, know that it is okay to splurge every once in a while.

Sing karaoke

Karaoke is a great social outing that can be an alternative to the typical college party. Many places offer an hourly room rental complete with a karaoke machine and a flat screen TV to sing your stresses away. Don’t worry if you aren’t good at singing, as most rooms are soundproof so only you and your friends will be able to hear you. Although it can be pretty expensive if you go at night, many karaoke sites offer a special happy hour during the late morning to mid-afternoon.

Visit a friend on another campus

It’s time to get into your car (or bus or train) and actually go visit that friend you said you would see when you graduated high school. Visiting a friend on another campus not only gives you the chance to catch up, but it allows you to see and experience life at another school. Your friend may even treat you to some food with his/her leftover meal plan money.

Write letters to your closest friends, professors, and people who have influenced you most during your time in college

This is probably the most meaningful thing on this bucket list. Writing heartfelt notes to the people who have made a genuine impact on your life is one of the most touching gifts you can give them. Even if not all the memories were positive, tell them how you’ve grown together and how you are glad that you met them. When I’m feeling down, I still read my old high school yearbook messages and try to remember the strong friendships I’ve made over the years.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

2018 bucket list campus life college student bucket list New Year's resolution new year's resolutions resolutions student life to-do list

About Naomi Hong

Naomi Hong graduated from Occidental College in 2018 with a degree in International Relations and Japanese and a minor in Economics. She currently works as a concierge/front desk agent at a luxury hotel in Southern California. She's passionate about hospitality and travel and hope to continue my career within the hotel industry. She also enjoys writing articles about career advice, studying abroad, and learning new languages. 


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Jeannie Borin, M.Ed.

Jeannie Borin, M.Ed.

President and Founder, College Connections

I frequently visit CollegeXpress to answer questions from students and parents. There are countless hot topics in admissions that need to be addressed. I enjoy reading what my colleagues post and gain additional insight from different perspectives.

Elizabeth Stafford

Elizabeth Stafford

High School Class of 2021

As a UK student moving to California due to my dad's job in the military, when I first signed up for CollegeXpress a few months ago, the college process ahead seemed daunting and incredibly stressful. That all changed after I started to explore what this website had to offer. Not only was I helped by the vast array of resources available to me, but through being a CollegeXpress member, there have been so many more benefits. There have been emails with college tips—all of which I found incredibly helpful—as well as invitations to events and notifications of scholarships that'll make college possible for me. Overall, I'm very grateful to CollegeXpress for all of these things and more. Not only have they helped me grow my understanding of the college process, but they've also helped me to grow as a person, giving me new skills that I can take with me through life.

Keaun Brown

Keaun Brown

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2020

As I transition to furthering my education, I can say with certainty that it simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous organizations such as CollegeXpress. Those who initially founded CX had no idea their platform would give a plethora of information to a first-generation homeless kid native to the ghettos of over half a dozen states. Everyone at CX and Carnegie Dartlet gave me a chance at a future when the statistics said I had none. And for that, I thank them.



High School Class of 2023

Being a sophomore in high school, I never really worried about college. I thought it wasn't important to worry about until senior year. Through this program opportunity I came across, I realized how important it is to start looking at colleges early and start planning ahead. CollegeXpress has opened my eyes to what colleges require, what colleges are near me, and what they offer. The daily emails I get from CollegeXpress really help me look at the different options I have and what colleges I fit into. Without this website, I would not be taking the time out of my day to worry about what my future will be nor what opportunities I have. I could not be more grateful for such an amazing and useful website. It's thanks to CollegeXpress that not only me but my family now know how much potential I have in to getting into these colleges/universities that we thought were out of my reach.

Fabiola Rodriguez

Fabiola Rodriguez

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me on my journey to get to the school of my first choice by showing me all the options I have. I didn’t know of the College of Southern Nevada until I went on this website, and it helped me look for other choices and compare what colleges would be right for me.

College Matches