My undergraduate years at Rochester Institute of Technology was four years filled with classes, homework, work, then the next day it was more classes, more homework, and more work so often times it became stressful and sometimes I needed to just relax and have fun. I have looked back during my undergrad years and have made a list here for you of things to do that are fun, yet safe. I know it’s not your typical “have fun in college list” that might include drinking, going to parties, going to bars, and going to clubs which is what college is supposed to be about. At least you’ve seen in the movies that drinking and acting recklessly is what college is supposed to be about.
Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but the truth is drinking, partying, bar and club hopping has no place in the life of a college student. You made it into college. You need to stay in college. You need to buckle down and be sober. You need to let loose and relax, but you can do that without alcohol or any reckless endangerment of one’s self and other college students. Here is my list and I hope you apply them in your college life.
- Listen to music and paint to music.
I learned how to do this freshman year. I had a class called 2D Design and our professor had us listen to music and paint. The goal was to have your painting express the music you were listening to. For example, if you were listening to classical music your painting might look smooth and more if flow just like the classical piece you are listening to. I ended up loving this project and continued to do it on my spare time. I spent many many hours listening to Nortec Collective and painting fluid lines that expressed the instrumental music of Nortec Collective.
- Go to the library or bookstore and find a good book or magazine.
I worked at the Brighton Memorial Library when I was in high school and after work, I would browse through the library and find art and photography books that inspired me. Once I became a college student my roommate and I often went to the library, Borders bookstore when it was still open, and Barnes and Nobles. We used to spend hours and hours looking at photography and graphic design books and magazines. It seems like a simple hobby, but really what we were doing was honing our eye for good photography and design.
I also loved finding a good fiction novel. I know it’s a little childish, but to tell you the truth I was obsessed with Harry Potter during my undergrad years. I started reading Harry Potter books during the summer of my freshman year in college when my friend from high school came back from Ireland where she was attending college and told me about Harry Potter and how fun they were to read. I borrowed her books and I then proceeded to read all the rest of the books as they came out. There are many good novels out there. Find one that you love and read it when you want to relax or even right before you go to bed.
- Go to art or photo galleries.
This was another fun hobby that inspired my art. RIT has the Bevier Gallery in the 7A building and a photography gallery in the 7B Building. I often went to both when there were events. Events consisted of students and faculty showing their work. The Bevier Gallery sometimes showcased high school students work. When I was in high school I entered my photography work in a contest and my photograph ended up winning gold and it was showcased at the Bevier Gallery. That was the first time I went to the Bevier.
Later on, in my undergrad years, I remember going to these events often dressed up in a nice summer dress and flip flops. I often went with my roommate and we would ooh and ah at the beautiful pieces displayed at the galleries. I looked forward to these gallery events. They got my creative juices going. Some of these events were RIT graduate students displaying their thesis work and I used to walk around and study them then one day I decided I would become a graduate student after I finished my undergraduate degree and so I did. I did my graduate studies online so there was no fancy gallery event for me, but nonetheless, I got my Masters of Fine Arts in Media Design and later my Masters of Science in Education Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University.
- Join a club.
There were many clubs at RIT and I wish I had joined many of them especially the art club, the photography club, and the graphic design club, but I did not. I did learn from other students that they learned lots from those clubs so if you are at RIT and you want to belong to clubs make sure to find one that is part of your major and join that club.
The club I joined was a Bible Study Club. We met once a week and then we would go to church together on Sundays at a Christian church called New Song, which was later renamed to Mosaic. During our club meetings, we would read the Bible and discuss the scriptures and enjoy good food. It was an all girls club and I felt very lucky to have formed close bonds with those girls. These Bible Study Club meetings strengthened my faith in God which was very important to me because I went to a Catholic school during middle school and I had a religion class and so this club was a way of continuing my studies from my Catholic school days.
- Play sports and exercise.
I’ve said this in a previous blog post, but I’ll say it again on this blog post because it is important. You have to play sports and exercise because when you exercise you release endorphins and endorphins will make you a happier human being. I joined a volleyball intramural team at RIT that was partially made up of my friends from my Bible Study club and church members from New Song that attended RIT. It was great to just let loose and play volleyball.
I also loved doing cardio workout and lifting weights. My favorite cardio workout was running or using the Elliptical machine at the RIT gym. I ran on the track while listening to my MP3 player, I also ran at RIT nature trail, or just ran on the treadmill in the gym and watched TV while running. During my senior year at RIT, the new gym with the gigantic pool with the diving boards was completed and I used to love going there to swim and show off my not so good diving skills. My diving sometimes ended up in a belly flop. I was not a belly flop expert so they weren’t even good belly flops.
- Do yoga.
I did not discover yoga until my junior year in college. My roommate had a yoga class and her teacher lets me join so I learned how to do the yoga breathing and the yoga poses. Later on, we got yoga mats, yoga videos, and yoga balls for our apartment so we could practice it at home in between doing our homework and studying.
- Go to the mall and shop and of course eat at the food court after shopping.
Going to the mall and shopping for clothes has always been fun. It’s been one of my favorite past times since my middle school days in Houston, Texas. When I was in Houston I went to the Galleria, Sharpstown, and the Sugarland Mall. During college, I often frequented the Marketplace Mall which was the closest to RIT and sometimes on good weather days my roommate and I used to go all the way to Eastview Mall. Eastview Mall was and is considered the fancier mall out of the two.
During college, I was on a tight budget so bargain hunting was a must. We used to scour the malls for the cheapest and most comfortable clothes. Often times I would find the most comfortable t-shirts at American Eagle in Marketplace Mall that were less than five dollars. After a successful day shopping and finding the perfect sale we would go to the food court and order tacos from Taco Bell. Those times were priceless and I will always cherish those memories.
- Take photographs for fun.
Photography was my major so I had to takes photos for homework and the homework often came with criteria like I had to have a certain subject. I had to rent certain cameras. Make sure to take my photos with studio lighting, etcetera. When I had spare time though, I would break free from the constraints of my assignments and take photographs in the snow using car headlights for lighting or perhaps drag a tree branch into my apartment and use it as a backdrop or if it was nice weather out go to Mendon Ponds with my roommate and take pictures of nature at the Devil’s Bathtub trail.
- Watch movies.
Watching movies has always been my go to for fun. I used to watch romantic comedies with my girl friends from middle school and high school, but that all changed in college. During my spare time at the dorms, I was exposed to art films and foreign art films by my girlfriend so of course when we got a chance on the weekends we would make it our mission to go to the Little Theater in the heart of downtown Rochester and make sure to watch the most artsy movies.
- Go on a nature walk.
RIT’s nature trail was my go to for distressing. I went there to enjoy the leaves changing from green to red to orange then to yellow. It was quite a treat. RIT was also close to a park called Highland Park and my roommate and I often went there to see the flowers bloom. Highland Park has thousands of lilac bushes so it was quite a treat in the springtime to go to the park because the whole park would turn a light purple and smell of fragrant lilacs. Oh my! Those spring day nature walk days were quite fun!
There you have it. My list of ways to have fun that does not include drinking alcohol, partying, bar and club hopping. I hope you take these examples and try them. Most of them you might already do, but sometimes you stop doing these simple things that were so fun when you were in high school because when you get to college everyone is drinking.
You have to say to yourself. I will not join in on these reckless activities that could endanger me or others. You have to make sure to list out your priorities and get them straight. You need to remember you are in college to do well in college not to get drunk and not make it to class the next day because you are hung over. You have to remember your friends and family at home that you have to impress. Alcohol can impair you in many ways so you must remember to say no to alcohol and stay safe while having fun. I hope this was a great list for you to read and I hope you apply them when you arrive in college.
Here are two videos I made to go along with the blog post.
Here is the second part of the movie.