5 Things You Didn’t Know You Should Do Before You Graduate

The days go by slowly during the week, but then, all of a sudden, there’s only 40 days left until graduation, then 39, 38 … What if I’m not ready for the real world? I still have plans to complete, goals to accomplish … I’m not ready.

Anna Nguyen/New University

When I first started here at UC Irvine four years ago (has it already been that long?), I was more concerned with getting good grades, joining clubs and getting to know people who will become life-long friends. I thought I would have time for everything. But now, looking back, that time went by way too fast.

There are many activities that I wish I could go back and do before the final step of walking through the Bren Events Center to document my status as an “alumna” rather than simply a “student.” Here’s my top five though:

5. Skydiving: need I say more? With locations nearby in San Diego and other bordering South Orange County cities, it’s only an hour or so away for an adventurous day. Not only can you feel like you’re flying, but where else can you see a view like that, floating 8,000 feet above the ground? You can invite friends, and make it a group activity. A birthday? To kick off a new quarter? Just because? Whatever the reason, it’s something that I wish I would’ve done earlier in my own college career, and now regret not taking the chance with friends to fly through the air. Why step out of a perfectly good plane? My only answer is, why not?

4. Sky High — OK, so I can be a bit of an adrenaline junkie. This is the perfect chance to get to know friends, hall mates, co-workers and apartment mates. It gives you a chance to return to a brief moment of carefree childhood that is so often hard to come by in college. You can jump, hop and play in a pit filled with foam blocks. You’ll be sky high, both literally and metaphorically. It’s way better than an awkward icebreaker and it’s a good workout.

3. Taking the road less traveled: In accordance with the words of Robert Frost, sometimes a drive through a new area that you haven’t explored before is an amazing refresher. Just the other day I was trying to get back to Irvine from Fashion Island, and I ended up by the marsh that surrounds the area connecting UCI and Newport. The sun was setting and the sky glowed with an orange hue: it was breathtaking. After stressful weeks, midterms and things that just never seem to go your way, it was so calming to simply drive through the windy road and look at the nature surrounding me. After that day, I regretted not taking that chance more often, escaping the mundane nature of school and work to just relax. It’s important to take time for yourself and sometimes a back road is just the way to do it.

2. Explore new eateries, at least one every week: there are always new places to discover. This past summer, I was finally introduced to Bruxie’s — an amazing place if you haven’t been. New restaurants are constantly opening, but very rarely do you hear about every one. Looking back, I would’ve tried to become more of a foodie by breaking the goal down: to try a new restaurant every week. Not only will you try a ton of different cuisines, but it’ll also give you chance to get to know different areas and explore some of the downtown areas around UCI.

1. Write for more, if not all, of the UCI publications: the school hosts several magazines that allow students to publish creative works, including Incite and Kiosk. However, I wish that I had taken advantage of these much sooner. They offer a home for writing, and especially as a literary journalism major, it would have made for great opportunities. Now, the world of publication promises to be more difficult to pursue. For UCI students, though, publications like these, and the New U, offer great chances for you to get your writing out there, to create a name for yourself. Don’t be afraid — just do it.

There’s a lot of other things I wish I would’ve done sooner during my time here at UCI. Now, I’m running around trying to fit everything in — exploring more eateries, driving down unexplored paths, writing as much as I can. In a sense, though, I feel that it’s a little too late. What more would I have gotten done if I had started all of this sooner? I know that no matter what, I’ll be prepared for the world once I leave the inner sanctum of the university, but I just wish I would’ve had time for more.