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101 Things to Do in College

Mascots, Cheers and Other College Traditions


Students walking outdoors
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There's more to the college experience than going to class and writing papers, of course. What we remember most fondly down the road are those other college traditions, the mascots, the cheers and beloved quirky activities. Stanford's alumni magazine ran a list recently of 101 things to do in college that included such time-honored, Stanford rituals as joining in the "Dead Week Primal Scream," dancing at the Mausoleum Party and getting kissed at "Full Moon on the Quad," a tradition for all freshmen - or it was before the advent of swine flu on college campuses. A few decades ago, that list probably would have included swallowing goldfish, wearing raccoon coats and cramming into phone booths too.

But the idea of starting a "101 Things to Do in College List" for the 21st century is so tempting, several readers have sent suggestions to add to the list. So, here are the first, collaborative 53. Scroll down to the bottom and click the link to add yours to the list.

  1. Oski Wow Wow? Och Tamale? Learn the college cheer.
  2. Learn to sing the college fight song - like Georgia Tech's "Ramblin' Wreck" - loudly and often.
  3. Hear an impromptu a cappella concert - double points if you sing along, and triple if you join an a cappella group with a funny name, such as Harvard's Din & Tonics or Boston University's Treblemakers.
  4. Play inner-tube water polo.
  5. Join an intramural sport - preferably one you've never played before.
  6. Introduce an intramural sport that no one's ever played before - like Ninja, Lewis and Clark College's favorite game.
  7. Chat with a Nobel laureate.
  8. Complain about the dorm food.
  9. Stay up all night playing Apples to Apples or Quelf.
  10. Go on a campus scavenger hunt.
  11. Streak the quad or do an undie run, like the one at Montana State University in Bozeman before the big game. Do not get caught.
  12. Celebrate the first snowfall of the year with a massive snowball fight on the green, as they do at Virginia Tech and Massachusetts' Clark University.
  13. Or celebrate the first rains of the year with a naked (or near-naked) campus run, as they do at UC Santa Cruz. Do not get caught. (See above.)
  14. Determine permanently and irrevocably the precise meaning of life. (Stanford alumni magazine)
  15. Play ultimate frisbee.
  16. Catch a play on campus.
  17. Paint the big campus emblem on the hill, just like the University of Nevada-Reno students do each fall when they trek up to the big "N" on Peavine Peak.
  18. Join a zombie attack or other improv troupe event.
  19. Go hear a former president, secretary of state or other famous public figure lecture on campus.
  20. Learn to ballroom dance.
  21. Learn a new language.
  22. Attend a frat party.
  23. Dress up and go dancing.
  24. Boogie with the team mascot, whether it's Cal's Oski or Georgia Tech's Buzz, on the football field after a winning game.(A.M.)
  25. Sit in on a class you're not even taking, just because the professor is so good. (A.M.)
  26. Go to your professor's house for supper. (AnotherCollegeMom)
  27. Hear a university orchestra concert - they're free and awesome!(AnotherCollegeMom)
  28. Cheer the band at halftime (Bay Area Mama)
  29. Pull an all-nighter and then hit the nearby donut shop. (Bay Area Mama)
  30. Take a film course - watch movies, then discuss.
  31. Sign up for a class on Harry Potter, the philosophy of "Star Trek" or Zombies 101.
  32. Launch your own intramural Quidditch team.
  33. Go to open mic night in the campus pub. Cheer for everyone.
  34. Go to open mic night in the campus pub and get up there yourself.
  35. Try a class completely out of your comfort zone - astrophysics 101, perhaps, or beginning sculpture.
  36. Check out the school's anti-stress fests during exam week, whether it's the snuggle-the-puppies booth at Cal Poly, the midnight breakfast at Clark University or the chocolate fest at Pomona.
  37. Go fountain hopping. Plunge into every running fountain, do a little dance and move on to the next one.
  38. Go to a drum circle. Extra points if you drum too.
  39. Go to office hours.
  40. Browse the bulletin boards at the music building, then go catch a senior recital. The music's always really good - plus there's free food afterward. Be sure to congratulate everyone.
  41. Buy a flotilla of rubber duckies. Float one in each campus fountain.
  42. Learn to fence. Er, with a sword.
  43. Learn to cook, so you don't have to eat dorm food all the time. (Ellen 245)
  44. Embrace the joys of ramen. (Ellen 245)
  45. Go to the big game bonfire. Cheer at the top of your lungs. (Jeannie)
  46. When the bells ring at midnight, stampede to the quad to decorate it with your fellow frosh, like they do during Agnes Scott College's Black Cat rituals.
  47. Participate in ALL the welcome week activities, including the skits, the dances and the big outdoor movie night, like the one at Redlands University.
  48. Start a club.
  49. Join - or start - an extreme origami club like the one at MIT, which makes 17-ft. triceratops sculptures entirely out of folded paper.
  50. Leap into an out-of-the-ordinary competition troupe, like the tango dancing team at UC Santa Cruz.
  51. Check out the P.E. course listings and pick the oddest one. Nothing like a wakeboarding course or a little Valhalla fighting instruction to get the blood pumping.
  52. Play zombie tag.
  53. Go geocaching on campus.
  54. Climb the tallest building on campus. Take in the view.
  55. Volunteer for a campus-sponsored community service project, like the ones organized by California's St. Mary's College during welcome week. It's a great way to meet new people, and it always feels good to do good.
  56. Instead of Daytona Beach or Cabo, opt for a feel-good, community service, alternative spring break.
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