Someday when you have a headful of white hair and grandchildren, you’ll look back on your college years with a smile.

When you look back on those times, you’ll want to think of all the fun times and know that you made the best out of those four (or five) years you spent in college.

Although I just graduated in May, it already seems like it’s been an eternity since I was in school. Howerver, distance from the situation gives me some newly-found insight on the four years I spent at the University of South Carolina. As any person will tell you about their college years, there are definitely some things I did that I regret, but there are many mistakes I would do all over again.

Here’s my guide to what you need to do before you walk down that aisle, diploma in hand:

1. Take the Trip

There’s always going to be an excuse not to go somewhere and have fun. Be it money, homework or extracurricular activities, there is always going to be something in the way. But at some point, you need to splurge and take the trip, wherever it may be. Save up that extra $500 so you can go to Cancun with your friends on spring break or to make that road trip to an away football game. It will be a memory you’ll never forget.

2. Fall in Love

Getting your heart broken sucks, there’s no way around that. But you should fall — and fall hard — for someone during your college years. Don’t be afraid to open up and be real. These are some of the most fun years of your life and to be able to share that with someone else is a magical feeling.

3. Participate in the Tradition

Every school has their own traditions. Whether it’s attending a football game or jumping in a lake, you should try it at least once (as long as you’re not going to get injured or sick). Even if you don’t think you’ll like it, you really won’t know until you try it out!

4. Take a Class for Fun

Yeah, you heard me. Even though this goes against practically everything your professors or advisers tell you, it’s important to take at least one fun and interesting class that doesn’t pertain to your major. Even though you should get through college as quickly as possible so those tuition bills don’t pile up, schedule this class into your long-term plan. You won’t regret it!

5. Join a Student Organization

I know some people who graduated college without belonging to any student organizations and that makes me sad. I was extremely involved on campus and while sometimes that was stressful, it was so worth it in the end! Almost all of my closest friends from school were people I met through my sorority or through other organizations I was involved in on campus. It’s a great way to make friends and to add some experience to your resume.

6. Stop and Smell the Flowers

Once you leave campus, you’ll be amazed by all of the random things you will miss. For example, my school has this amazing green area called the Horseshoe, which is basically the heart of our campus. I rarely ever went there, as it was far away from the journalism school, but I wish I had hung out there more often and just enjoyed the present. Take a beat and enjoy your life!

7. Risk the Hangover

While it’s important to keep your drinking in check so that you don’t get sick, you should let loose every now and then. As long as you’re doing this in a safe environment and are with friends, it’s OK to drink a little more than usual every now and then. I’ve been hungover after many a night out on the town, but I would go through the pain and nausea all over again just to have those memories.

8.Leap Outside the Campus Bubble

Unless you’re literally in the middle of nowhere, your college or university most likely has an interesting town or city surrounding it. See what restaurants or stores are around — you’ll likely find a new favorite! There are also so many events and festivals that are a great alternative to your average kegger.

9. Give Back to the Community

Volunteering is a great way to both beef  up your resume and do some good in the world. It helps give you some context and perspective on what’s important in life. While you don’t need to do it every week or even every month, try to find some sort of project that fits your schedule. You’ll get so much  more out of it than you put in!

10. Apply for Internships

Back in the day, a college graduate could find a job just because they held a degree. That’s not the case anymore, as more and more people now hold college degrees. You will have an extremely hard time finding a job after graduation if you never intern during your time in college. Make sure you take the time to find an internship. Often, you’ll even be able to find internships on your campus.

 

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