Countdown to Graduation: The Bucket List
Much of my final semester at college was a blur; I spent countless nights working on projects and studying for exams, just to be sure I didn’t do anything to screw up my chances to graduate on time. Life was happening all around me on campus, but I had become a permanent fixture on the fourth floor of the main library. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was missing out on some special moments I would never encounter again after graduation. I really regret not taking a few moments just to soak up my last few weeks as a college student, enjoying those carefree days before my career and other obligations would take up most of my time and energy. Those last few weeks at college are definitely a turning point in your life, and you’ll never get the chance to go back and do it again. If I could turn back the clock and do it again, here are a few things I would have done before saying goodbye to my college campus.
1. Eat in the Cafeteria
After freshman year, most of us rarely step foot back in the cafeteria. We find our favorite campus café or a great spot close by the campus to grab our daily meals. Some of us even get pretty good at cooking in our dorm rooms. I really wish I had made one final trip to the cafeteria, though. It would have been nice to chat with the freshmen and remember how it felt when I was just finishing up my first year as a college student. It’s amazing how quickly time goes by.
2. Stop by the Career Center
Please, if you do anything, check out your campus career center. I found out after I graduated that I could have received free help creating my résumé, preparing for interviews and finding a job. Once you leave campus though, you will probably lose access to these resources. The job market is still fairly competitive for recent graduates, so take advantage of the help while you still can.
3. Visit the Art Gallery
Apparently, my campus had an amazing art gallery, but I did not find out about it until I returned for an alumni weekend. It was tucked away in a quiet area on campus and was filled was paintings, sculptures, photographs and other works that were created by current students and visiting artists. It would have been the perfect spot to unwind and decompress from finals. I’m pretty sure your campus will have something similar, so seek it out and enjoy a few moments to yourself.
4. Invite Your Favorite Professor to Coffee
Throughout my time on campus, I had several professors who actually socialized with me and other students after class (typically night classes). We would head over to the campus hot spot, have a beer (or soda) and chat about class or the latest gossip on Facebook. I don’t know why I stopped doing that my last semester, but I should have popped in to see some of my favorite professors one last time and offered to buy them at least a cup of coffee before leaving for good.
5. Pull an All-Nighter
Unless you plan to go to graduate school, all-nighters will soon be a distant memory; this is both a good and a bad thing. I love that I don’t have to give up sleep to cram for an exam anymore, but I do miss hanging out with my friends and having a little fun. Even if you don’t feel like you need any extra help for finals, gather a group of your friends, order up some pizza and just veg-out together one last time.
Another mistake I made my final few weeks at college was neglecting to take pictures of everything. Whether it was the buildings, my favorite study spot or just my friends being themselves, I should have been snapping away. I guess it’s really true that once you leave you can never go back. Life goes on without you, and if you’re not careful, you could miss something important. Don’t make the same mistakes I did and spend your remaining time buried in the library under a stack of books. Get out and live a little. You’re only a college student once, and your time is running out.