It’s happening. Excited “I’m engaged!” tweets, Instagrams of engagement rings, frightening relationship status updates on Facebook - sometimes it can seem as though everyone around you is getting ready to tie the knot. Worst of all, for the first time in your life, these people are actually the same age as you.
Maybe you and your significant other have been together for six years. Maybe you’ve never had a boyfriend in your life and you can’t imagine yourself settling down with someone until you’re at least 40. Whether you spend your college years committed or free as a bird, we see no issue either way. A collegiette in a relationship can have just as fulfilling a college experience as a single lady. But when it comes to taking that next step—the one that will lead you towards the altar, that is—that may be better to save for after graduation.
You probably will never experience as much personal growth as you do throughout your 20s. It may be the only time in your life where you’re without obligation, free to explore whichever passions, cities and relationships you please. And while being with another person doesn’t necessary inhibit you from the freedom of self-discovery, becoming bound to that person in holy matrimony before you even get your college degree just might.
Here are just a few things we think every collegiette should try before trying on any wedding gowns.
1. Apply to graduate school
Your education doesn’t have to end with your undergraduate graduation. Check out some grad school programs; you may not be ready to put aside the books just yet!
2. Plan a backpacking trip in another country (or five)
Whether you plan a trip with friends, with a significant other or totally on your own, every collegiette should do a bit of traveling before she settles down.
3. Take up a totally random hobby
Have you ever tried scrapbooking? Journaling? Quilting? Starting a new hobby is a great way to discover an interest you may have never known you had (and to get plenty of "me time!").
4. Sign up for a new club
You may think you have your friend group established by senior year, but you never know who you could meet before graduation.
5. Accept a job offer in an unfamiliar city
It may be intimidating to step out of your comfort zone, but there’s no better time than right after college to explore foreign territory (even if it’s not the same city your significant other is planning on being in next year).
6. Plan plenty of girls’ nights
Whether you hit the clubs to go dancing or spend the night in with some rom-coms and a bottle of wine, take advantage of all the girl time you can get before you no longer live just down the hall from all your friends.
7. Learn how to cook for yourself
You won’t have the dining hall to depend on anymore next year. Take the time to try new recipes and test your culinary skills.
8. Give back to your community
There’s no better way to learn something new about yourself than by taking the focus off of you for a little while.
9. Earn money to pay off your student loans
Before you can think about any sort of relationship stability in your life, you should get some financial stability.
10. Get in the best shape of your life
Take advantage of free fitness facilities and your (relatively) flexible schedule to set new fitness goals for yourself. Train for a half marathon or triathlon? Why not?
11. Pursue something you’ve always been passionate about
Always wanted to work on your photography skills? Want to raise awareness about the lack of educational resources for women in Third World countries? Use your senior year to follow those passions!
12. Make the Dean’s List
Don’t just skate through senior year – make it your best academic year yet.
13. Get yourself a pet
Before you take on the responsibility of a lifelong partnership, learn how to take care of another living being.
14. Make a Pinterest board for decorating your first apartment
Forget "Dream Wedding" boards – start picking out stuff to decorate your first bachelorette pad.
15. Buy yourself a really expensive piece of jewelry
Who says only a guy can buy you a really nice rock? Save up the money, buy yourself something nice and wear it knowing you earned it yourself.