“What is there to do around here?” asked every semi-bored teenager/high schooler/college student ever in existence throughout the history of the entire human race.
Today’s topic is “HOW YOU CAN SPEND YOUR FREE TIME.” *Take note that this post is about how you CAN spend your free time and not how TO or how you SHOULD spend your free time. It is your time, after all, so in the end it’s up to you what you do with it.
So, what is there to do around here? Well, please enjoy my generic answer to this question. Ready?…drum roll, please…It depends on what you like to do! Adventures can be found anywhere from within the dorm halls or commuter lounge to beyond the campus boundaries completely.
But…where do you even start?! Here are a few examples of effective time-spending activities for your pleasure:
- Have fun in random/spontaneous ways. Ride a longboard down a dormitory hallway. Take up people-watching- that’s always a fun one. The way I see it, as long as you are not disrupting or harming anyone in any way or destroying property I say have fun with it. Keep this in mind, though…you probably don’t want to tick off an RA (resident assistant).
Start a campus-wide game of Manhunt or Sardines, hold a movie night, initiate a foam Nerf gun war, or plan a scavenger hunt. Moral of story: make it up and have fun, but stick to the university rules.
- Go to the events offered on campus. Student Activities (we’ll refer to this as “SA”) is the headquarters for entertaining students…and did I mention the events are free? Through SA you can rent equipment like Kan-Jam, volleyballs, pool sticks, board games, or even sleds for use in the never-ending winters. Some events that the SA office offers include karaoke nights, comedians, musicians, game shows, hypnotists, and mentalists.
A random event that SA sponsored recently was a stunt jump…who knew that jumping two stories and falling onto a giant fluffy mat would be so much fun? SOAR is an outdoor recreational branch of SA and this group offers trips to go rock-climbing, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, etc. You can also check out the new rock wall, challenge course/outdoor classroom and zip-line located conveniently on campus. SA also offers dances, a magical Christmas dinner and super cheap trips to see Broadway shows in NYC. (Mamma Mia was phenomenal!)
- Hang out in the Den. The Cougar’s Den is a place where students can order food and just chill with friends by indulging in the miracle of made-to-order food, watching Friends on television and sitting by the fire. Pull up a chair, twist open a fresh bottle of bubbly (Coca Cola, of course) and relax. This is where the SA acts perform, so you’re basically getting dinner and a show (which is especially convenient when you show up at the Den for food on a night when you forgot someone was performing). How splendid!
- Volunteer. Campus Ministry is the best place to start to find community service opportunities near campus or even miles away from the arches. Start out by helping for an hour or two at a local animal shelter or tutoring children. Perhaps you are into restoring old health clinics or helping nearby churches…whatever it is, learn more about it, grab some friends and go for it! Then take a stab at attending a fall or spring break service trip to another state or even country/continent to perform acts of service.
Some of these volunteer opportunities include but are not at all limited to building houses, tending farms, spending time at orphanages, or serving at soup kitchens. It feels good to help others. Even if you don’t have experience with service, even the smallest gestures count. You might want to give it a try.
Get involved, stay busy. Do you like sports? Join an athletic team. Do you not want to actually join the team but you still want to play the sport? Join the intramural athletic team. Do you want to stay in tune with music (ba dum chh)? Join the newly formed Pep Band or Beyond Harmony, MU’s choral group.
- Are you completely mesmerized by your academic major? Do you enjoy blowing up stuff? Did you love your orientation leaders? Do you want to get up close and personal with Harry Potter spells? Have you even been on a spiritual retreat? Newsflash: There are ways to get involved with all of these examples and plenty more. Find a club you’re interested in and learn more about it.
Are you not interested in the clubs offered? Request to start your own through SA and the wonderful Student Government Association (SGA). Just two of the newly formed clubs in the recent school year include the Triathlon Club and the Kan-Jam Club. Speaking of SGA, you can run to be a class officer or an SGA member. You can basically do anything you want (within reason). Isn’t college cool?
- Get a job. Getting a job is the perfect way to multitask: You get paid for staying busy, being productive and not being completely bored out of your mind. After all, somebody has to pay for your textbooks and Ramen noodles. Most of the jobs on campus aren’t so bad, either. You can try to find a position in your specific major; this will help you build relationships in your field and learn more about the behind-the-scenes work. It will also give you necessary experience that can come in handy later. I landed a dream job of working in the Athletics department…I get paid to watch sporting events (and attend to general game management duties…it’s still a remarkably wonderful position).
Some major plusses of working on campus include building those relationships, flexible work schedules and little to no travel, depending on where you live. Many businesses in the area also offer employment to college students. On-campus jobs are available during the school year as well as in the summer. Personally, I’d rather sit at work than sit in my room. Check out the “Student Jobs” link on the Misericordia website to see current listings of employment offered though the University.
- Get off campus. Go on, get. If you can’t find a ride, convenient shuttle services are offered for free on specific schedules to locations within the area. You can save up your money from work to spend on bowling, frozen yogurt, movie theaters, roller skating, unnecessary merchandise at the mall and more. Feeling outdoorsy?
Take a trip to hike at Rickett’s Glen or Francis Slocum State Parks. As beautiful a sanctuary Misericordia is, let’s face it…it’s in the middle of nowhere. Explore the outside land every now and then so you can better appreciate campus when you get back from your adventures.
Honestly, the opportunities to keep from dying of boredom are as endless as the list you just read. Think about what you want to get involved in now so you can jump right into it when school begins. Here, you definitely have a chance to try something you may have never tried before. Take advantage of the opportunities college has to offer while they are still knocking. If you’ve taken anything away from this post hopefully it’s this: Don’t waste your time, for it is extremely valuable. Spend it doing something you want to do. Really, it’s that simple.