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University bucket list: 38 things every student must do

From pranks to pre-drinks, no university experience is complete without these. Make sure you tick them all off before you graduate.

Music festival, colour run and protest

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.

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

Ultimate university bucket list

Simon Cowell thumbs up

Credit: NBC

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.
  2. Go on a day trip – When you're in the uni bubble it's easy to forget that there's a whole world around you. Grab your mates one weekend and head on a day trip by bus or train. Whether you go to the beach, the countryside, or a nearby city, getting away from your daily routine and taking a break from uni life is essential.
  3. Take part in a student protest Rising tuition fees, the scrapping of maintenance grants; there's a lot to be angry about as a student, and there's 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 will 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. 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 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.

young people dancing at festival

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Try all the drinking 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.
  4. 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. Plus, running through a rainbow of colour is pretty exhilarating.
  5. 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 skills that make you super employable. Long uni holidays are the perfect opportunity to make some cash.
  6. Set up your own business – Did you know that university is one of the best times to flex your entrepreneurial spirit? From a doggy dating app to 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.

shopping trolley BBQ

  1. Have a 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, grab a portable grill from the supermarket and get your mates round for some 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?
  2. Buy a uni hoodie  Because did you even go to uni 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Win a pub quiz – This one might take some serious dedication because the chances of winning a pub quiz first time round 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.
  6. Make it to a 9am lecture after a night out – 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.
  7. Actually learn how to reference – Whether it's Harvard, MHRA or otherwise, referencing is a minefield – and 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.
  8. Do an internship Get some real-life experience in the workplace with a summer internship. 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.
Come Dine with Me

Credit: Channel 4

  1. Host a dinner party – 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. You could even take it in turns to host dinner parties, Come Dine With Me-style. 
  2. Invent your own cocktail One thing you'll learn at uni is that cocktails are seriously expensive. £7 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.
  3. 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. Plus, it's a good chance to have a nosy around another university and see how it compares to yours.
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. Prank your housemates Whether you go big and paper their room in 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.
Inbetweeners on holiday at a club

Credit: Film4

  1. Be the first to arrive at a club (and the last to leave) – 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. Plus, 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).
  2. Spend a day binge-watching Netflix – When the 9-5 grad life kicks in, you'll regret not making more time to do this. Treat yourself after an essay hand-in 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. 
  3. Go on tour – If you're part of a sports team, you might get the opportunity to go on tour – which basically involves going abroad, playing your sport and getting drunk a lot.
  4. Go speed dating Nothing will get you over your fear of meeting new people than a speed-dating session. You'll get the opportunity to meet lots of new people outside your circle of friends, and you never know, you could meet the love of your life.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Jim Carrey karaoke

Credit: Columbia Pictures

  1. 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).
  2. Gate crash 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).
  3. 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 – and make yourself more employable too.
  4. Volunteer – If you're studying on 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.
  5. Get a degree – Oh yeah, and if you have time, try to remember to graduate too (or even get a first)!
These are just some of the many great things you can do at uni, and a lot of the best student activities cost under £20.

Now you know the things you should do at uni, take a look at the 36 mistakes every fresher will make.


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