32 Ways to Get the Most Out of College
By Christopher Fisher
College isn’t only about exams and papers. It’s also about doing things you may never have the opportunity to do again. Consider this bucket list your chance to get more out of your college years. Do these things and you’ll look back on college just a little more fondly.
1 Win a round of trivia at the local watering hole. Put all that learning to the test.
2 Sit in on a class outside your course of study—and your comfort zone. It’s a great way both to expand your worldview and to clear your mind.
3 Befriend a professor. Professors love taking students under their wing; take advantage and gain a mentor.
4 Befriend someone who disagrees with everything you say. Get out of your echo chamber every now and then.
5 Write an article for a campus publication. Dabble in the world of journalism, literature, or poetry. Show your family that you do something more constructive in your spare time than just “ping-pong.”
6 Host a truly classy party. I’m not talking togas and flip cup. Cook a meal at someone’s apartment, and dress up for it. Host a garden party with croquet and hats. Show the world that college students don’t need to get smashed to have fun.
7 Read this book . . .
8 . . . and this book
Both will help you live a
9 Attend at least one of every kind of student event—sports, student theater productions, dance, concerts, etc. Your classmates will appreciate your being there, and the experience will give you a broader understanding of your campus culture.
10 Take a picture with your school mascot. Because do you really want to live life without that memory?
11 Visit places of worship other than your own. It will help you think, speak, and write more knowledgably about other people and cultures.
12 Study a foreign language . . .
and maybe even learn one.
13 Start a secret society . . . even if it’s just you and your best friends. Read great books, create fun rituals, and leave college feeling like an insider.
14 Attend a sporting event you don’t understand or that never gets fans—squash, fencing, etc. Besides, you might find out that your school does curling or has a rodeo team, and what poor soul would want to miss that?
15 Go to the library for fun. Put down your computer and take advantage of those glorious libraries found almost exclusively on college campuses these days. Browse the stacks to see if you can stumble on a book you would never otherwise have read.
16 Actually study abroad. Find a program where the classes aren’t a joke, and immerse yourself in the literature, music, and culture of the country you’re visiting.
17 Stand outside of and observe a college party on a weekend night. You’ll probably see something similar to that animal scene at the end of That Hideous Strength.
18 Finish a term paper more than twenty-four hours before it’s due. Maybe it won’t make any difference, but there’s only one way to find out!
19 Make a pilgrimage purely for intellectual pleasure. English castles. Faulkner’s or Frost’s home. A monastery in the French Alps. Take your best friends with you. Once you all get real jobs, it’ll become a lot harder to travel with them (or at all).
20 You know that really tall tower in the middle of campus? See if there’s a way to (safely and legally) get to the top of it.
21 Write a piece of fiction or poetry for credit. This may come as a shock, but literature isn’t all about lit crit.
22 Keep a journal. Even if it’s just jotting down some notes about the day’s activities or something particularly awkward that your roommate said at dinner—you’ll appreciate it later.
23 Do some form of silent or otherwise intense religious retreat. After all, education is as much about your soul as it is your mind.
24 Surprise your mom with flowers. Let’s face it, you’re probably far away from home and she misses you.
25 Take a Shakespeare course. Turns out, the dude is actually worth reading.
26 Visit an art exhibit/archive on campus and strike up a conversation with the curator. They get lonely sometimes.
27 Start a Quidditch team. Seriously, all other sports are for losers.
28 Visit the office hours of all of your professors at least once. They’ll appreciate your visit and you might even learn something new.
29 Learn the history of your campus and use that knowledge to lead a campus tour. It’s like giving back, only fun.
30 Bring cookies to your neighbors in an attempt to get to know them. Build those little platoons of civil society.
31 Sit in the front row of class and be engaged. Professors appreciate it more than you think.
32 After your graduation ceremony, take a picture in front of your freshman dorm in your cap and gown, diploma in hand. Guaranteed nostalgia for the rest of your life.
Christopher Fisher is digital media editor for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Follow him