Top Five Things to do Before you Graduate

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Rima Kikani > Junior > English > UMBC
There are some things we all should do before that day comes when we throw our caps in the air and hopefully miss the dean’s head. After all the midterms, clubbing, and ramen noodles, the undergraduate experience just isn’t complete without the following activities–some are serious, some are fun, and then those others…well you can form your own opinions. So whether you’re a physics major at Columbia, or undecided at a small-town college, here’s a list of the top five things to do before you put on that gown.



Study Abroad: Of the eight semesters of lectures you’ll have to bear, spend one in another part of the world. Go hang-gliding over Rio de Janeiro, pass lazy afternoons in the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris, or study archeological ruins in Greece. Whatever your pick, experience the cultures out there, and as UMBC Honors College Director Anna Shields says, “get a good sense of the diversity beyond America’s borders.” Because no matter you go, it will be one of the most memorable semesters of your life.
Take that one course for fun: Who’s ever heard of a class called “Maple Syrup” or “European Witchcraft”? They’re both actual courses offered by Alfred University and Oneonta College, respectively. One of the best parts of being an undergrad is the variety of the courses you can choose from, so take one just for fun. Ken Keffer, who teaches “The Art of Walking” at Centre College in Kentucky says that in his class, “peaceful walks are an integral part of the curriculum.” That general ed requisite or an elective for your major does not count. Take a random class that sounds interesting to you. Enrolling in "Intro to Percussion" may not help you get into grad school, but it might give rise to a new passion.
Pull an all-nighter: That’s right. Go at least 36 hours without sleeping and see where you end up. Type up the 20-page report on Beowulf that your professor assigned two months ago, or shake it down at the Lit Lounge, but stay up all night, then brag about it. It will become one of those nights you won’t forget–and we all need at least one of those. So the next time you plan on hitting Johnnie Walker with your roommates (or cram for a history final), make sure you’re awake to see the sunrise.
Leave your mark: Whether it’s spray-painting obscenities in the locker room, carving your name on a tree, or creating a new club, that’s up to you. Do something people will remember you by, because accomplishment is a part of college. However, achievement does not have to include writing a dissertation. Sabrina Zeger, a Penn State sophomore, makes her mark by working with the Auxiliary Police on her campus. “It’s the funniest job ever, I think,” she says. Have fun with it. Be creative.
Thank a professor: Before you leave to make it big in the real world, don’t forget those who helped you reach this point. Take the time to thank that one (or more) professor who found the time to make a difference in your college career. Visit that biology department chair one last time or write a grammatically correct thank-you note to the English teacher, and let them know that you appreciated it. Show them that you care; it will go a long way.



College Magazine Staff

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