Officially, your post-secondary years are intended to help you get an education and prepare you for the workforce. But what will you remember fifty years from now? You can bet it's the road trip you took with your roommates that summer in second year! Or the time you pulled the all-nighter to study for the big history final. Your memories will be those big, out-of-the-ordinary moments.
You already have a plan for your college success, but what is your plan for life outside the classroom? Here are some suggestions for your ultimate bucket list.
Decorate your dorm room or your shared apartment
Finally! You have your own space, and mom and dad aren't around to give you the side eye—so don't leave your walls blank and boring. Keep in mind any dorm regulations (most won't go for paint) but today there are some really nice paint-friendly decals to buy on a budget, and many institutions hold art fairs at the start of the term geared towards student budgets. Who says posters can't go on the ceiling? Add your personal flair with décor, lamps and anything that "sparks joy."
Pro tip: Try to stay within a colour or theme so it all comes together nicely.
Join a club
Most colleges and universities offer a range of clubs that can help you to develop your academics, try out a new hobby or test-drive a sport. Maybe you'll join pre-med club to learn more about your future career, or stay fit by joining an intermural team. Or check out the student council to build your leadership skills. All of these will definitely result in making friends and discovering new talents, so find out what moves you.
These days, most clubs are meeting online with Zoom hangouts and online activities. Onling gaming groups and book clubs are really taking off, as they're easy to enjoy while fully socially distanced.
Take a stretch class
We're not talking aerobics, but a class that stretches you outside your discipline. Most institutions require electives, so why not try taking a creative writing class despite your nursing focus, or a history of science course as a philosophy major? Courses outside your specialty can help you get a wider view of the world and also offer a balance to the focus required by your discipline.
Many careers today are multi-dimensional too: down the road you may be surprised to find that what appeared to be an unrelated elective actually proves to be handy to your day-to-day after graduation. This isn't the point, though! The point is to broaden your horizons.
Join in on college events
You may or may not be encouraged to party at different points during the school year, but if you decide you need a break from your studies, try attending a few college events.
Right now, almost all of the traditional in-person events have transitioned online, which at least makes them easier to attend. Some to consider are Online Dirty Bingo (YouTube), a Guest Speaker Series or Lunchtime Yoga. Each offers a great opportunity to make friends and get to know your community.
Pull an all-nighter
Another rite of passage, and not one that you can really plan for—but you can bet it will happen to you! As you see the hours slip by, embrace it. Put on that third pot of coffee, try not to wake your roommates, and keep your eyes on the prize: passing that exam.
Get to know a professor
One regret that some students have after graduation is never really getting to know a prof. Having a good rapport with your profs comes in handy—not only for rounding out your college experience, but for getting a good reference letter later on.
Take advantage of your professor's online drop-in hours or email them about your career plans, your interest in their field of study, or that assignment that you're having difficulty with.
Pro tip: try to introduce yourself early on so that when you need their help on that assignment, they already know who you are.
When you volunteer, you learn so much about who you are, what matters to you, and the difference you can make in the world around you. There's no better feeling than giving back to the community, plus you'll be able to gain valuable leadership skills and real-world experience to add to your resumé at the same time.
Volunteering will let you build a student experience that you can call your own while having an impact on your local and global community. (Plus, scholarship admins and employers love to see that you've got volunteer experience!
See what programs are available at Algonquin College