College years can be wonderful. Being on your own for the first time, away from the family can be a rewarding experience. However, it can also bring many college students down to earth about their financial situation. For some, juggling class, activities, and a job is a necessity. Others (like me) just don’t have the option of outside employment, due to time and scheduling conflicts. And still, others have chosen a college in such a remote area that it is impossible to find work outside the campus.
Never fear! That doesn’t mean that the fun automatically stops! There are plenty of things you can still do for free.
1. Campus activities
The big one! Your college campus will usually have a slew of activities you can participate in. There’s usually something for everyone, from guest speakers to football games to the newest play or choir performance. Most of these activities are typically free if you present a student ID. It’s a great way to spend a day. And, even if your school isn’t one of the Big Ten, you can still get a lot of enjoyment out of sitting in the stands and cheering your team on to victory.
Ok, I know. Parties… they’re not always free when you factor in the extras. If you want to bring your own drinks, that’s gonna cost you. But parties in and of themselves are typically free. Even my sorority’s yearly formal, an event that typically had an entrance fee, could be gotten into with the donation of some canned goods for a local charity. And who doesn’t need to get rid of those cans of lima beans mom sent with the latest care package? Also, though fraternities typically have house beer, not being a brother doesn’t necessarily count you out. Once the party is underway, there are typically lots of folks willing to hand one over, regardless.
3. Movie Night
If you’re looking for a date night, or maybe just trying to avoid studying for those dreaded exams, why not have a movie night? I know, that copy of Star Wars has been watched to death. But you aren’t limited to your own stash of movies, and you don’t even need a Netflix subscription! Your campus library should have a pretty decent variety of movies, from older classics to avant-garde, to foreign films. Whatever you’re up for, chances are, you can find it for free, and you don’t even have to leave campus to get it.
4. Book it
I know, I know. You’re in college. You do enough reading. But if you’re looking for a break from Quantum Physics or The Complete Works of Shakespeare, head back to that library. Find something that interests you! Campus libraries aren’t known for their fabulous fiction sections, but you might find some gems hidden there. On the other hand, if you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, you’ll probably find a book to teach you. Look for things that aren’t so heavy, to help your brain process the day’s activities.
5. Not All Who Wander…
Not all of you will find the appeal in a long walk. But then, I’m someone who will walk six miles to the beach, just to have to come back again. Walks can be refreshing, a quiet time to let your brain process. They can be a time to connect with friends, or just to connect with nature, the city, or the world around you. College campuses are frequently well-kept, beautiful grounds, and can make for inspiring walks.
If you’ve outgrown the boundaries of campus, don’t be afraid to strike out into the world around you. Pick a destination or, heck, even just a direction, and head out. Just remember, if you live in an urban area, or even just as a general precaution, you might want to tell someone, your roommate, etc. where you are headed, and how long you plan to be gone. (Or, even better, take them with you! Walks are even more fun when you have someone to share them with!)
There you have it, five TOTALLY FREE things you can do on campus. Enjoy your college experience, and enjoy the money you save by wisely planning your free-time activities.