College isn’t just about getting ready for the real world or testing your alcohol limits; it’s about leaving your comfort zone and discovering all the incredible and crazy things you’re really capable of. If you haven’t drafted a Bucket List for your college career, yet, consider starting with these 10 must-accomplish-items:
1. Drink with a professor: If you haven’t found this out yet, professors generally love drinking—wine and cheese after a long week of grading pretty much goes hand-in-hand with academica life, in fact. So at some point during your senior year, assuming you’re 21, find a way to socialize with your professor over drink. Don’t make it about classwork—really get to know the person who has changed your life in some profound way.
2. Participate in your school tradition: Every school has one: some bizarre ritual of which no one is quite sure the origin, but remains a symbolic part of every student’s collegiate journey. If you’ve been too nervous, embarrassed, or terrified to participate, just do it. Take a bit of liquid courage, march in with your friends, and never look back.
3. Be the loudest person at a sporting event: Even if you’ve never been near your school’s soccer or football field, round up some school spirit and give it the old college try. Deck out in as much school-colored gear as possible, make some banners, and scream your head off—even if you have no idea how the game works. Better yet, go to cheer on a friend or classmate you’ve never seen in a game before.
4. Explore your college town: And I don’t just mean the bar that offers a 10 percent discount to college students; I mean the hole-in-the-wall places that only locals patron. Take a good, long walk and really get to know your new home; pick up a newspaper, attend a local concert or play, chat with a friendly townie—you’ll be surprised at how friendly your new town may be.
5. Take a totally random class: Yes, that means something unrelated to your major. Choose a subject you’re interested in but have never had the time to really explore. You may not end up with the best grade in the class, but you’ll come away with some pretty incredible insight.
6. Have a picnic on your campus green: Grab your closest friends, pack some sandwiches, (or your favorite beverages), lay out a blanket, and enjoy a beautiful day outside.
7. Go to at least one; even better, participate; best, make some new friends:
a. School play
b. Sporting event
c. Student music group’s concert
d. Lecture (one that’s not for a class)
e. Open mic night
f. Cultural or religious group activity (with which you are not affiliated)
8. Find something that’s unjust about your school and do something about it: Everyone’s always complaining about something, whether it’s the election policies or the new dining hall trays. If there’s something you think needs to change on your campus, do something proactive: write a letter to your college newspaper, start a petition, or stage a protest—even if it doesn’t work, you’ll feel great about trying.
9. Befriend a staff member: I don’t mean a faculty member; I mean someone who works behind-the-scenes at your school: the friendly dining hall server who always gives you a discount or the custodian who smiles whenever you walk by. Make a point of saying hello and getting to know the often forgotten members of your college community.
10. Become a mentor: Help out an underclassman in need and stay in touch as he or she navigates that awkward first year. Emulate that amazing senior who gave you directions on your first day of class, and try to do the same for someone else.