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Student Life

Your College Life Experiences Checklist

Take on new experiences and implement a "no regrets" policy to ensure you gain the most from your college experience.

Make the most of your college experience with this bucket list.
Your College Life Experiences Checklist
College is undoubtedly a special time in your life. You have the proverbial world at your fingertips through academic courses, mainstream and unusual extracurricular offerings, and travel opportunities. With that, you should make the most of your college experience. You don’t want to live with regrets: I should have taken that class, I wish I had participated in intramural sports, or I can’t believe I didn’t travel when I had the chance in college. Fortunately, we’ve highlighted some of the top college experiences to get you started on creating your college bucket list. Remember, you have four years to check these off, so use the first few months of your college career to get settled. Then, it’s time to take your college campus by storm.

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Live in the dorms

Living in the dorms is the equivalent of the ultimate college campus experience. It’s the perfect place to meet other students, bond over the newness of college, and spend long nights studying. You may assume that you can gain similar life experiences once you move into an apartment building, but that’s not the case. Neighbors rarely open up to each other the way students in the dorms do. If you’re an upperclassman, you can easily get this experience and free housing by becoming an Resident Assistant (RA).

Join a club, volunteer or get involved on campus

You’re never going to have as much free time as you do in college to do the things you love. You’ll also never have the opportunity to meet so many of your peers through activities on campus. Check out your school’s clubs, organizations and Greek life. College is the perfect time to either try something new or delve further into an extracurricular passion. Even if you decide you don’t love whatever activity you decide to take on, you’re not required to stick with it. Hopefully, though, you will have made a new friend or two in the process.

Study abroad

“I regret studying abroad” isn’t a phrase you hear often and there’s a reason why. Students gain a multitude of awesome experiences from becoming immersed within a new culture, exploring a different country, and bonding with other students on their study abroad trip. Furthermore, you can take courses in another country that will apply to your major. If you can’t get away for a semester, colleges typically offer fall break, spring break, and summer break travel opportunities too.

Attend a school sports event

Even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s fun to get together with other students and cheer on your school. Depending on the size of your school, you’ll also have friends on many of the athletic teams, and it’s important to support them. Get the experience once or twice, at the very least, because it’s always different cheering on your school as a student versus cheering on the team as an alum.

Partake in an old campus tradition

Student and campus traditions are usually silly, but fun. Most schools have them, too. Find out which traditions exist on your campus, and join in on the fun with friends. One day, you’ll look back at it in laughter with your old college friends.

Take a class (or two), just because it’s interesting

If a class sounds interesting or exciting – take it! You may stumble upon a passion you didn’t know that you had or fall into a new major or career parth. Or, it could just be an interesting class. Either way, it is worth your time and effort.

Consider other college majors

Do you ever hear someone’s college major and think that it sounds exciting? Are you ever secretly jealous that they get to study that? Guess what! You can do it, too. Forget about what you think you should be studying, study what you love instead. If you’re nervous or unsure you’re ready to take the plunge, make sure to try out a few courses in the subject. Test the major before officially making the switch.

Get to know your professors

Believe it or not, professors are pretty cool people. They’re smart, often experts in their fields, and are willing to share all of that information with you. Additionally, a lot of professors have interesting things they are working on that pertains to their study. Take time to get to know your professors through office hours and class discussions. You may be surprised by how much you learn and how much you enjoy getting to know them as individuals. Also, you may be called on to help with their research or study, which would look great on your resume.

Participate in class discussion

If you have something to say in class, don’t be afraid to speak up. This is great practice for your eventual job after graduation. It will be necessary for you to speak up or present in meetings at work – so get your practice in the classroom. Bonus: professors love when students are active in class discussion.

Make friends with someone who is seemingly your complete opposite

College is great for getting to know all different types of people. When you become friends with a variety of students, you actually learn a lot more about yourself in the process. Additionally, you may have a lot more in common than you think. Branch out from the norm so that you can start discovering more about the world around you - and yourself.

Go on a date with someone who isn’t your “type”

It all comes back to self-discovery. How can you know yourself or what you want from a relationship if you’ve only tried one type of person? No matter if you have good or bad dates, you begin to discover what you’re looking for in a relationship.

Visit friends at other colleges

Your high school friends are likely spread across the country at different colleges. Now is the time to schedule visits! It’s acceptable as a student to crash on someone’s couch. You’re both in school and neither of you have to take time off work (maybe just your part-time job), check with your spouse, or find a babysitter. In short, nothing is holding you back from going to see friends – you can even find friends to take road trips with or super cheap flight fares if you plan ahead. Take advantage of visiting other areas of the country (with a free spot to stay) while you’re able to do so!

Get a part-time job on (or near) campus

A part-time job not only helps you pay the bills, but also helps you balance time, get to know others, and prepares you for your career ahead. It’s always good to get experience juggling several responsibilities (like classes and a job) because you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come. A lot of college jobs are fun, too – you can get to know other students and locals that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Remember...

All of the above suggestions boil down to one concept: taking on new experiences and implementing a "no regrets" policy to ensure you gain the most from your college experience. These years don't last forever, and they do fly by. Make them count by filling them with memories and experiences you can cherish for a lifetime.

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