Family, Self

Don't Step FOOT Into The Real World 'Til You've Done These 10 Things

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As Bret Easton Ellis once said, "What else is there to do in college except drink beer or slit one's wrists?"

If that was Mr. Ellis' summary of his college years, maybe he missed out on the experiences that make these years awesome. Don't repeat his mistakes. Be sure to check these ten things off your bucket list before you graduate.

1. Take a road trip.

Hit the beach, hit the mountains, hit the city, it doesn't matter which. If it's geographically possible, hit all three. Whatever you do, don't let four years pass by without grabbing your friends and heading out for a few days with no solid plans. And for the sake of college student pride, don't ask your parents for permission first.

2. Intern with a great company.

Here's a great thing about internships: Companies who would never hire you will often be happy to let you work for them for free as an intern.

This is great news for you. You'll get to work with the kind of cool, hip people you'll never encounter in the corporate world. You'll have something great to put on your resume, and for a few blissful weeks you'll love going to work.

3. Volunteer at a campus event.

OK, so you're no Patty Simcox. In fact, you don't even own a single piece of college swag. You have no idea whether or not your school has a song, and you certainly don't know the words to it.

Still, you've gotten a good education and had some good times. Why not give back at least once by volunteering at festival, charity event, or theater production?

4. Take an art or music class  even if you don't need the credits.

Natalie Portman said, "I'm going to college. I don't care if it ruins my career. I'd rather be smart than a movie star."

Take a minute to think about that. These are words from somebody who had no need to go to college other than to make herself a better, smarter person. Art and music can make you a smarter, better person, too. In some ways that can be more important than the classes you take simply to get your degree. It's always new and inspiring.

5. Get to know the first names of the people on campus who serve you.

Never forget that there are people on campus who work their butts off to make sure you learn in a clean, safe environment, and that you have decent food to eat. Make the effort to learn their names. Then, use those names when you ask them how they're doing and thank them for the things they do for you.

6. Rent a house with your friends.

Get five or six friends together and rent a house for at least one school year. You'll be surprised at the money you'll save over dorm living or trying to pay for an apartment on your own. Even better, you'll never have to leave home to find the party, when the party is always at your place.

7. Be the sober friend at least once.

This isn't about being the designated driver, although you should do that, too. This is about being the sober friend who takes a friend out, and lets them cut loose. So, find a friend that's just been dumped or who has spent the last month doing nothing but studying and take them out on the town.

8. Ask somebody who makes you nervous out on a date.

College life is all about experiencing new things and taking risks. If you make it to graduation without asking somebody who you're crushing on for a date, you've wasted your time. Guy or girl, put yourself out there and ask the question already. You'll be a better person no matter what the answer you receive is.

9. Get a crazy haircut or color.

Unless you're pursuing a career in the arts, chances are you're going to spend the next thirty years sporting a hairdo that's "stylish yet conservative" and "appropriate for the corporate environment." Now, you can enjoy wearing your hair however you want it.

So cut it, shave it, spike it, and make it a color that doesn't appear in nature. Twenty years from now you can show it to your kids as proof that you weren't always lame.

10. Follow a band around the country for the summer.

Find a party band or great artist and follow them around as they tour the country. Not sure who to follow? Mod Sun is always a great option if you enjoy rap with a laid back hippie vibe. Widespread Panic is another great jam band that draws amazing crowds of awesome people.

This article was originally published at Thought Catalog. Reprinted with permission from the author.