How To Make Great Memories In College
The spring semester at college can be sluggish: It’s the same people and the same atmosphere as last semester, so it feels safe and comfy. With half the school year finished, all the students have a little more solidarity. The seniors are at peace with their final semester, and the freshmen finally have their first semester behind them. Sophomores and juniors have the whole thing figured out and are ready to churn out another thirteen weeks’ worth of papers and lab reports.
But don’t let the lethargy go to your head. Now is the time to work on an often-neglected aspect of the college experience: making memories. Sure, I’ll admit that internships and homework come first. But the end goal is enjoying life, not finding job security. You can accomplish something useful that isn’t required, but only if you try. Here are a few examples.
Be the Mascot
At my college, anyone can wear our mascot costume at a college event or game as long as they ask at the Student Activities office and demonstrate basic abilities (like balance and stamina) in a quick test. Full disclosure: my college is a small private one, so you might have a tougher time. But there’s no harm in asking. In most cases, the mascot is one or two volunteers who have to strap themselves into a giant fluffy costume and prance around being energetic for two hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would love to pass the job off to you.
It might not be football season, and it might be tough to survive at the time, but the memory will be worth it. Think about it: bragging rights that you were once the spongy face of whatever animal represents your very own alma mater. The sweet stench of decade-old sweat is temporary, but the glory is timeless.
Get Lunch with a Professor
There’s always a cranky old professor or two at every college, but I promise that ninety five percent of the profs would love to talk to you. Actually, the cranky ones probably still want to. Being a teacher means wanting to help the students, and there’s no better way to know that your students enjoy learning than seeing them communicate with you outside of class.
Asking professional colleagues out for lunch is a widely accepted social move, so it you aren’t doing it yet, you should start. Connecting with your professors is a great spring board into the world of networking, and helps you build a real connection with a teacher to boot.
Be on the Radio
Most colleges have a radio station. Check out yours. A single practicum might be needed to give you access, and the start of the semester is a great time to sign up. All your other classes aren’t demanding a ton of work yet – hopefully – so you have a little time to spend. I’m going to be spending an hour a week on live radio this semester, personally.
It’s a great starter medium for anyone hoping to improve their basic communication skills: not a lot of people care about listening to the radio nowadays, so if you mess up anything, it’s not a big deal. Usually a radio show can be adjusted to fit your needs. Check with the professor, but as long as you produce something to fill your slotted airtime, you can probably get as experimental as you want. I’m planning to air a series of dramatized stories, which I can later make into an online podcast.
Display a Talent
Granted, might be the better choice if you have a good talent. Or enjoy performing in front of an audience. But if you have one, that’s enough: if you like goofing off, you can learn a few menial tricks, find a few accomplices, and make a few jokes.
There are still options if you hate performing with an audience, though: a film fest might be a good choice. That way, you can tweak and edit everything as much as you want before allowing anyone to see it. Once again, having friends helps. A group effort can help everyone get a good memory, even if no one can do all the jobs. Colleges want to engage their students, and often have a lot of choices. Check out your options.
Take a Sweet Elective
Ask around. Most juniors and seniors have opinions on the best elective, be it on bioterrorism, mythology, or Portuguese. The professor matters a lot, so make sure he or she is cool. You can even pick something useful, like a Spanish class to boost your high school memories or an art class that will let you put Photoshop on your resume. Whatever you do, don’t waste your electives on an easy, boring one. No one looks fondly back on their college days in Basket-weaving 101.
Keep Your Eyes Open
There’s always a new opportunity, and I can’t share all of the ones you might uncover. I don’t even know what I might be doing tomorrow. Stay involved. Keep your eyes peeled. You won’t make great memories of the past unless you live in the moment today.
Image credit: virtualsugar
Adam Rowe is a junior Communications major at Geneva College. He likes acting, and writing on his blog called Unboxed, but dislikes school buses and bananas. Who decided the banana was a fruit, anyway? It’s not a fruit if there’s no juice, Adam contests.