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University bucket list: 38 things every student must do

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From pranks to pre-drinks, no university experience is complete without these. Make sure you tick them all off before you graduate. How many have you done so far?

a student with a protesting sign, four people at a festival, and a runner at the colour run

Credit: (left to right) Elena Rostunova, Monkey Business Images, PhotoStock10 – Shutterstock

Uni can be some of the best years of your life. From the parties and pre-drinks to the deadlines and dissertation, it's a whirlwind from start to finish.

But how do you know if you're really making the most of it? Our ultimate university bucket list contains everything you need to do at university to truly immerse yourself in the student experience.

See how many you can tick off before you graduate. You won't regret it.

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Ultimate university bucket list

Every student should do these things at least once at university:

  1. Support your uni sports team

    Even if you're not a sports fan, nothing will make you feel more proud to be part of your university community than cheering on the rugby/hockey/rowing team at a varsity event. Plus there's bound to be loads of funny chants, scarf waving and day drinking.

    And if you do like sports, why not join a sports team? It's a great way to stay in shape and make new friends at the same time.

  2. Go on a day trip

    Friends in Brick Lane London

    Credit: William Perugini – Shutterstock

    When you're in the uni bubble, it's easy to forget that there's a whole world around you. And if your university city is nowhere near where you lived before, there are some great opportunities to see new places.

    Grab your mates one weekend and head on a day trip by bus or train. Whether you go to the beach, the countryside, or another city, getting away from your daily routine and taking a break from uni life is essential.

  3. Take part in a student protest

    With expensive tuition fees and Maintenance Loans that too often don't cover living costs, there's a lot to be angry about as a student. There is no better way of making your voice heard than by joining a student protest.

    Bonus points if you make a placard with a witty slogan on it.

  4. Throw a house party

    Yes, the clean-up operation might take weeks, but if you're living in a student house at university you have to have a house party. Drag out the biggest speakers you can find, prep the perfect playlist and send out a shedload of invites.

    But, just make sure your neighbours know about it beforehand – you don't want to get fined over it.

  5. Create an epic fancy dress costume

    One of the best things about uni life is getting shamelessly over-invested in fancy dress costumes. Whether it's a bar crawl, house party or a themed club night, spend a day making an epic fancy dress costume that'll blow everyone away. Speaking from experience, it might even lead to some free drinks.

  6. Cook a house Christmas dinner

    Even if you never eat together at any other time, make sure you take the time to sit down and eat a Christmas meal with your housemates. It's the perfect way to hang out with everybody before you all go home during the Christmas break.

    Assign each person an aspect of the meal to share the load (or let the best chef take charge), get the Christmas tunes on and don't forget the crackers.

  7. Pull an all-nighter

    man sleeping on desk

    Ok, so this one isn't exactly a good part of uni life – but all students end up doing it at some point. You may well find yourself with an essay due the next day, in the library, with some snacks (essential) and writing throughout the night. You'll feel rubbish the next day, but you'll never forget a deadline again. Hopefully.

  8. Go to a music festival

    Your student years are the prime time to embrace the wellies, mud and chaos of a music festival – and there are plenty to choose from.

    While festivals are far from cheap, it's a great way to see many of your favourite artists. You can read our tips on how to save money at a festival to make sure you're not completely breaking the bank.

  9. Get elected to a society committee

    Joining a society is par for the course, but getting elected as a committee member is a serious achievement. Get stuck in with the society, make friends and when the time comes, go for a leadership position.

    Not only is it a great feeling to be in charge of a society, but it's bound to impress future employers too. And if you can't find any societies that fit your interests, you can always start your own.

  10. Try all the drinking games

    Having a couple of drinks before going out can save you a ton of money, but you can spice it up with some fun games. Ring of Fire might be the bread and butter of drinking games, but there's a whole world of pre-drinking activities out there.

    Become the master and impress your mates with your knowledge with our complete list of drinking games.

    But just remember, you shouldn't feel pressured to drink alcohol if you don't want to.

  11. Run

    Whether it's a colour run, a half-marathon or a Tough Mudder, grab your trainers and start making tracks. Even if you're a terrible runner, you'll probably be surprised at what you can actually achieve if you're determined enough.

    You can even try to convince one of your housemates to train with you, for some extra motivation. Plus, running through a rainbow of colour is pretty exhilarating!

  12. Get a part-time job

    For many students, a part-time job is a necessity at uni. But, even if you don't need one, they're a great way to boost your finances and gain some new skills. It also looks great on your CV.

    Long uni holidays are the perfect opportunity to make some cash. We have a guide that covers the best student summer jobs.

    You can also take on some hours before/after classes or during the weekend. Just make sure you have enough time to study and relax as well.

  13. Have a BBQ

    shopping trolley used as BBQ

    It's rare that the British weather is nice enough to crack out a BBQ, so if you are blessed with the good fortune of warmer temperatures, get your mates round for some food and beers in the sun.

    No doubt you'll burn everything and fill yourself up with Doritos waiting for it to cook, but that's the fun of it, right?

    While disposable barbecues from the supermarket are pretty cheap, they often can't be recycled. This means they'll end up in landfill, which is terrible for the environment. A good alternative is to cook food inside in the oven and bring it outside to eat.
  14. Set up your own business

    Did you know that university is one of the best times to flex your entrepreneurial spirit? From starting a website to running an alpaca farm, we've interviewed students who've made money from a huge range of different businesses. Use our top uni business ideas to get started.

  15. Buy a uni hoodie

    Because were you even a student if you didn't buy the uni hoodie and wear it at every available opportunity?

    Seriously though, they're the perfect hangover attire and a uni rite of passage. Plus, they're very comfy.

  16. Try out a weird society

    You're probably never going to get the chance to try out Quidditch or dress up as a Viking ever again, so throw yourself in and try something super weird.

    It could become your new favourite hobby or, at worst, you might make a fool of yourself and never show your face again. Either way, you'll regret never trying it.

  17. Make it into the student newspaper

    Either by writing in it or doing something newsworthy.

    You can show all your mates at the pub and even send one home to your proud parents before you frame it on your wall to treasure forever.

  18. Win a pub quiz

    This one might take some serious dedication because the chances of winning a pub quiz the first time around are slim. But if you're tactical about your team (you're going to need a couple of geographers, a history buff, a scientist and a couple of all-round knowledge geeks) you'll seriously improve your chances.

    And sometimes you can win some good prices, including extra money for drinks!

  19. Make it to a 9am lecture after a night out

    While this may sound impossible, it has been done before.

    You'll probably end up falling asleep in the back row, but with tuition fees costing eye-watering amounts each year, there's no way you're missing one single minute of those precious contact hours.

  20. Actually learn how to reference

    Whether it's Harvard, MHRA or another format altogether, referencing is a minefield. You'll be surprised how many people make it to final year without a clue how to do it.

    Nail it as soon as possible, and save yourself countless hours of stress. But beware you might end up becoming the go-to reference guru on your course.

    About to head off to uni? Check out our freshers' week podcast for all the advice you'll need, plus some hilarious fresher stories.
  21. Host a dinner party

    plates of food and glasses of wine

    Only proper grown-ups have dinner parties, right? You'll actually have a lot of fun attempting to rustle up a fancy meal for your mates, even if it's literally just pasta and sauce.

    And if that doesn't sound fun enough, you could even take turns hosting dinner parties, Come Dine With Me-style.

  22. Go speed dating

    Nothing will get you over your fear of meeting new people than a speed-dating session.

    But you'll get the opportunity to meet lots of new people outside your circle of friends. You never know, you could meet the love of your life.

  23. Do an internship

    Get some real-life experience in the workplace with a summer internship. Internships look great on your CV and give you a chance to gain some great skills in your field.

    We hope you get paid for your time, but if you find yourself on an unpaid internship, check out our guide to supporting yourself financially.

  24. Visit a mate at another uni

    Chances are you'll have mates at unis scattered all over the country, so use this opportunity to explore some other cities you've never visited before. Your friend can show you all the best places around, including the best pubs for a cheap pint.

    Plus, it's a good chance to have a nosy around another university and see how it compares to yours.

  25. Invent your own cocktail

    One thing you'll learn at uni is that cocktails are seriously expensive. £10 for five sips?! No, thank you.

    Get inventive and try making your own cocktails at home with the random bits of alcohol leftover from pre-drinks – you could invent something amazing. Plus, you'll get to name it.

  26. Do a dissertation

    This will be the most painful thing you do at university, but the sense of pride you'll feel once you hand in the 10,000-word beast makes it all worthwhile (sort of).

  27. Do something crazy for charity

    Most universities will have a RAG (Raise and Give) society where you can sign up to do stupid stuff for a good cause. Climb Kilimanjaro, do a naked bike ride, zipline across a river – the sky's the limit here (literally).

    Not only is it a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you actually get to help a charity. Win-win!

  28. Prank your housemates

    Whether you go big and line their room with tinfoil, or go sneaky and peel the labels off all their tins, pranks are a staple part of university life.

    But if you're dishing them out, don't be surprised when you end up on the receiving end too. For some inspiration, you can check out our guide to budget-friendly pranks.

  29. Be the first to arrive at a club (and the last to leave)

    dancing nightclub
    You might think it's embarrassing to be the first one to arrive at a club, but if you're drunk enough, having the whole dance floor to yourself is a liberating experience.

    On top of that, there'll be no queue at the bar, meaning you can rake the drinks in before the hordes descend (respect if you can make it until closing time).

  30. Spend a day binge-watching Netflix

    When the 9–5 grad life kicks in, you'll regret not making more time to do this. You can even use it as motivation to finish your essay.

    After handing it in, treat yourself by staying in your pyjamas all day and watching your favourite Netflix series (at a cut price thanks to our guide to saving money on Netflix). "Are you still watching...?". Yes, yes I am.

  31. Go on tour

    If you're part of a sports team, you might get the opportunity to go on tour. This basically involves going abroad, playing your sport and getting drunk a lot.

  32. Make your own beer

    If you can pull it off, making your own beer is the ultimate money-saving hack and the perfect way to impress your mates at pre-drinks.

    Even if it turns out horrible, it's ripe for a dirty pint.

  33. Do drunk karaoke

    Standing up in front of a bunch of random strangers and belting out Shania Twain's 'Man! I Feel Like A Woman' is peak life goals, believe us.

    A few drinks beforehand will probably give you the confidence to actually do it, but kudos points if you can do it sober (doesn't count if you can actually sing though).

  34. Make a living room fort

    University is the perfect time to indulge your inner child and pretend that your responsibilities don't exist.

    Stack up on snacks and hide away in your fort for at least a couple of hours before returning to the real world. Extra points if you can convince your housemates to join you.

  35. Gatecrash another lecture

    Always wondered what it would be like to study Aerospace Engineering? Neuroscience? Politics? Whatever it is, there's nothing stopping you.

    If you can find out the time and location of one of their lectures, you can go along, sit in the back row and see how much you actually understand (fingers crossed you don't love it too much more than your actual degree).

  36. Go travelling

    Never again will you be given a month off at Christmas, Easter and summer to do whatever you want. Make the most of the ridiculously long breaks by going travelling outside of peak times.

    Whether it's a city break, an interrailing trip or even a cheap student holiday, you're guaranteed to make some amazing memories. Plus, you can even add travelling to your CV.

  37. Volunteer

    If you're studying a course with few contact hours, you might have enough spare time to do some volunteering.

    Your local food bank is a good place to start, but your university should be able to point you towards loads of opportunities in the local area. As well as helping others, you can learn awesome skills, meet new people, and sometimes it's possible to get some free qualifications while volunteering.

  38. Get a degree

    Oh yeah, and if you have time, try to remember to graduate too (or even get a first)!

Now you know the things you should do at uni, take a look at some of the most common mistakes every fresher makes.


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