There’s a few things that you might want to do before you leave Illinois State University or… you may regret it!
1. TailGate At A Football Game
I know this sounds silly, but ISU isn’t quite known for its football, nor its talent there. Woah woah Brock Spack, we know you’re the coach, but not everyone shows up and you know it! So with that, I recommend spending Homecoming Weekend Tailgating at the game with your closest friends. Even if there’s no one else in the crowd, having the people closest around you makes a heck of a difference in the freezing cold Illinois weather. And, it’s something you don’t want to miss as a college student at Illinois State.
2. Indulge in the ” Emack Attack” with 4 of your friends
Uptown Normal has this amazing place called Emack & Bolios Ice Cream Shop. The Emack Attack is one scoop of every kind of ice cream that they have on the list and then all of the toppings to share with four people. If you decide not do do this when you’re at ISU, you’ll definitely be missing out because no other ice cream shop has anything like it.
3. Take An Art Class (Or Any Class Completely Unrelated to Your Major)
I know I take my studies seriously, and I didn’t want to pay anything extra for a class I didn’t need. I was the one calculating which classes would double dip for my major so I didn’t have to waste any time (or money for that matter!). And, I wish I had taken an extra course that I truly would have just made for fun. I’m already in a lot of debt, so why not add another couple of hundreds of dollars for just one more?
4. Stay At the Dorms
Some may say it’s gross and not worth the money, but staying at the dorms is quite possibly the best thing to do! You meet friends who live doors down and not a 15 minute drive. You can meet together and do whatever you want whenever you want. Dorm life is fun, spontaneous and nothing like anything else. You never forget your dorm experiences like sliding down mattresses down the stairwell or slipping on banana peels in the hallway for fun.
5. Study Abroad
Don’t you dare leave ISU (or any university for that matter) without experiencing a culture outside of the U.S.! I went for a summer over to Guatemala, learned Spanish, took classes and it was truly incredible. But, it wasn’t organized through school and this is where I missed out. If you don’t take advantage of those opportunities, you will definitely regret it!
6. Learn the Fight Song
There’s something special about knowing your school song. For Redbirds like me, we get to get PUMPED UP fighting for ISU, raising the banner, red, and white, CHEERING the Redbirds onto victory. Seriously, if you don’t learn it, you could miss out on the history, love and enjoyment of Illinois State University.
7. Do a Full Bar Crawl of Downtown Blo-No
Hitting up Fat Jack’s, Rosies, Drifters, Daddios and Nightshop all in one night along Main Street is a night you will never forget (or you won’t remember it at all). Regardless, the college experience is never complete without checking out all of the bars on the main drag. Dive bars are the best in college when you drink whatever is in front of you and get the best discounts.
8. Walk/Bike/Run on the Constitution Trail
Not every city has trails like this, but the Constitution Trail is a classic run/walk place for college students. During Halloween season, they even dress it up and make it a haunted kid time where you can enjoy getting “spooked” all night. This gives an opportunity to move around, get dressed up and get in the Halloween spirit for everyone in the community. If I hadn’t had gotten a workout in on the trail, I wouldn’t have seen as many different communities around ISU. Worth it!
9. Play Ping-Pong in the Basement of Tri Towers
A great way to meet new people and bond with friends, ping-pong is a classic that gets your competitive self on the move! Ask someone new to play or invite an old friend and then see who else comes along wanting to play. Like, ping-pong, playing team sports or intramural like ultimate frisbee, flag football, volleyball or others will give you an opportunity to have fun with new friends, which is what college is all about!
10. Get involved with Volunteering
Connect with the community of Bloomington-Normal in whatever way makes sense to you. I connected with a teaching group of students who went into schools and taught Spanish. It was a great way to practice my Spanish, interact with local kids and teachers, and enjoy myself. Volunteering is beneficial for everyone on either side. Besides, it looks good on a resume too!
11. Rock Climb or take a class at the Rec Center
The Rec Center is the centerpiece for college students trying to get in shape (or maintain their shape!). There is an incredible climbing wall and numerous classes available. The Rec Center has yoga, barre, cycling, HIITBoxing, Zumba and more! There’s no way you shouldn’t make your way to the Student Fitness Center for your next workout. Your health and your bonding skills with other students will improve drastically.
12. Go Visit the Famous People/Music That Visits ISU
Every year, ISU has speakers, events, and important figures come to speak to its students. Sometimes it is at Cultural Dinners, other times through its Speaker Series, concerts or even visits to the classroom. ISU has a lot to offer with regard to opportunities to meet people who can inspire your next project, or your major.