BLOG: Don’t miss your chance: I’ve got the one list that matters

By Patrick Wade

With a new school year comes one more opportunity to be the intelligent, intellectual collegian of which all of our bill-toting parents and hard-working teachers dream. And for most of us, that opportunity will almost inevitably be wasted.

Personally, this will be my last opportunity to waste on late nights out when I should be studying, spending money I don’t have and leaving almost every e-mail detailing available internships go unread in my flooded inbox.

And I wouldn’t want to spend my last year in school any other way.

With that said, what kind of Welcome Back issue would this be if a Daily Illini staffer didn’t run down a list of things every student should do before the end of the year?

Lucky readers still have a couple years to put off the real world and enjoy life in Campustown while they still can. But this year, I’m going to try and accomplish these next ten things before my life as a college student is over, and I suggest, no, I expect everyone to do the same.

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10. Spend an afternoon on the Quad.

I know it sounds terribly cliche, but it’s more interesting than you think. Read a book, play a game of catch — just make sure you focus your attention on the people around you. I think you’ll find yourself more entertained than you would expect, and you’ll get some insight into some of the off-the-cuff characters that make this University what it really is.

9. Drink a fishbowl at Firehaus.

As opposed to its evil twin, the Ice Bomb at C.O. Daniel’s. Firehaus is my favorite, but find a bar and make it your own. You’ll remember the time you spent there with friends more than the exams you’ll fail because of it.

8. Go downtown.

The University really has an advantage over most other schools with its geographical placement – you’re limiting yourself if you stick to Campustown and don’t check out what downtown Champaign and Urbana have to offer. Try Ebertfest or the Taste of Champaign.

7. Get involved.

Everyone says it, but a select few follow through with it. With a University this size, there is something for everyone. Quad Day is a good place to start – you’ll probably find something you don’t even know interests you.

6. Eat at Fat Don’s.

Questionable as No. 6, but this list isn’t arranged in any particular order anyway – and Fat Don’s is just that delicious.

5. Take a class you think you’ll fail.

Admittedly, this one isn’t for everyone. But the hardest classes are usually the most worthwhile. If you pass, you’ll learn a lot despite the low grade you’ll get. Really, this suggestion is more about challenging yourself.

4. Celebrate Unofficial.

Let’s be honest, the month before spring break, this is what almost everyone is talking about. Again, this list is arranged in no particular order, but what’s the harm in seeing what all the hype is about?

3. Wait in line for Rose Bowl tickets.

Hopefully it happens again. I waited for about 10 hours in sub-freezing temperatures, didn’t sleep all night and missed three classes. I was hungry, cold and miserable. And I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.

2. Buy chocolate chip cookies from Buckee’s Pizza (formerly Second Story Pizza).

Trust me.

1. Disregard this list.

And any other list, for that matter – especially Katie O’Connell’s. Make your own list.

The only thing that matters is that you use what is available to you to its fullest potential. College life really is a great opportunity.

Don’t waste it.