How to: Do College Right

This semester was supposed to be my last. I moaned about my graduation woes a few months ago as my friends were registering for their final semester of college, but now my only goal is to live up my last few months with them all before they leave me for, like, real big-kid jobs.

So when the semester started, I compiled a ton of items for our Charleston Bucket List. There are a lot of goofy things, as well as a bunch of serious things about the last few months of play time before becoming real adults. The real goal here is to do everything that we won’t care about when we graduate and only come back to Charleston for Homecoming.

Do all the tradition things every Eastern student does ever. I missed the boat on taking pictures in front of Old Main on move-in day freshman year (because I thought it was lame), but you better believe I’ll be out there in a parka on my graduation day in December. Slightly less sophisticated, but equally as important, is to have a picture riding the panther outside Marty’s.

Attend all the bars in Charleston. A classic college bucket list item, no? I’ve been to about half of them in my first year of 21-hood. I’m planning a bar crawl for my 22nd, in which the goal is to attend as many, if not all, of the bars in town throughout the night. We’ll see how that goes. Ahem.

Go to at least one event for each sport. My friends and I are a bunch of nerdy journalists and when we (OK, mostly just me) see athletes on campus, we (I) act like they’re The Beatles. I’ve been designing sports pages for two years. I know most of their stories and I giggle when I make eye contact with them on my way to class. (Sorry for being creepy, y’all.)

Adventure around all the nature-y places. We have at least three of these places just outside of town, and I’ve only ever been to Lake Charleston. After I graduate, I’m not going to care about hiking through Fox Ridge, so now’s the prime time to do it.

Go to the goofy local landmarks. I already purchased a delicious can of Mountain Dew from the world’s fastest pop machine and had a quick drive-by past the two-story outhouse in Gays, Ill., but there are more landmark-y places in here. Like, oh, I don’t know, the Lincoln Log Cabin. Or Arthur, the home of a pretty solid Amish community, is nearby. I hear they have good cheese.

Go paintballing with my crazy awesome friends and professors. The journalism department is the bomb diggity. About once a month this year, students and professors shoot each other in a Saturday morning/afternoon of fun. They all brag about and show off their welts every day for the next week, and me being the sissy I am, feel a slight twinge of jealousy every time. So the next time they go, I’m forcing myself to go. Even if I’m sleepy.

Thank all of the professors who changed my life. One college bucket list I found had this on it, and it’s the most important, I think. I can think of eight professors I’ve had who have made me feel like more than just a number. They’ve inspired me to not totally suck, and they’re the reason I’m able to feel confident that I might, maybe, get a job in a year. I’m sappy and think about them all the time and feel a pang of sadness when I realize I haven’t done my best to form relationships with some of them because I’m too intimidated by them. So, at the very least, I can thank them for guiding me through a pretty successful college career.

What’s really great about looking up college bucket lists, though, is counting all the things I’ve already done. Take a picture with the mascot? Check. Tailgate at a football game? Check. Get a tattoo? Check. Go on a roadtrip? Check. Participate in a flash mob? Oh yeah. Play beer pong? Only like, every other weekend.

My absolute favorite part is when nearly every list says, “Let your voice be heard: write for the school newspaper!” When I look back on my Eastern, that’s all it is: the newspaper.

At least I’ve done a few things right. Here’s to an adventure-filled spring.

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