This summer, I work for the Office of First Year Experience Programs as an Orientation Leader. We help new students get acquainted with campus and all the resources that we have for them here. We also get to have a ton-o-fun in the process. When I was packing all my things up before I moved into Wright Quad for the summer, I came across two things that I had kept from my orientation: my "swaggie" sunglasses (stole that word from a fellow orientation leader) and my "Must do at IU" bucket list. I've been sporting the sunglasses for the past several weeks because it gets pretty bright up here with everyone's smiling faces and the IU Bucket List has been hanging on my mini fridge. This year, they updated the bucket list. It has an awesome new design and it is now a re-peelable sticker! I didn't even know they made such a thing! There are about 50 items on the list that will help new students have the time of their life while they are here at IU. I am going to break it down for you and give you what I think are the top 5 absolute Hoosier MUST DO's! (and yes...I realize I look like a dork in this picture haha wanted you all to have a visual though!)
1. ATTEND THE LITTLE 500 MEN'S OR (and) WOMEN'S RACE
If you all don't know what the Little 500 is, it is a bike race that we have here at IU every spring. It is an awesome event where students come out to watch about 30 bike teams from all areas of campus ride around a cinder track for 100 (women's race) or 200 (men's race) laps. I have been to both races each year since I've been here. It is so much fun and the energy from the students is amazing! There is an entire week of events and concerts before the races so be sure to check those out too. This is one of my favorite IU traditions. This is a picture of some of the Oteam (orientation team) at the Little 500 this year.
2. WATCH BREAKING AWAY AND LOOK FOR PLACES YOU RECOGNIZE ON CAMPUS
I saw this movie for the first time before I had ever even visited IU. I did not know any of the campus landmarks or even much about the school itself. This is a movie that was filmed back in the late 70's and it is about the Little 500 and 4 kids from Bloomington who ride in the race for the first time (the race is traditionally only for IU students). Everyone who goes to IU needs to see this movie at least once before they graduate! Set aside the fact that it's all about IU (and who wouldn't want to watch a movie like that?). It is also just a darn good film! And, for those who are interested, a young Dennis Quaid is one of the main actors and he is lookin' good!
3. CONNECT WITH A PROFESSOR OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
As an incoming freshman, I will admit, the professors freaked me out! They weren't like my high school teachers. The title "professor" or "doctor" intimidated me. I was afraid to go to office hours unless I had a real question. Therefore, I never really made any great connections with my professors. This is probably one of the things I regret most about freshman year. I wish people had told me how awesome the professors are! They are awesome everyone! I think this year, all my professors knew my name or at least could recognize my face. I made a habit of going to office hours, especially if I was having a hard time understanding something in the class. One professor that I connected with in particular was Dr. Laura Murray in the Speech and Hearing Department. She taught my Aging and Communication class. After our first exam, I went to her office to go over the questions that I missed. We talked them out and then the conversation moved to other things about the field and how she got involved in it. I went to visit her a few more times that semester and hope to see her again this coming year. The professors here are amazing and they really want to help you out. Don't be afraid to reach out to them too!
4. TASTE CULTURE AT MANY OF THE INTERNATIONAL RESTAURANTS ON 4th STREET
4th street is just south of Kirkwood Ave. near downtown Bloomington. This is where you will find the most ethnic restaurants per capita of any other city in the U.S. My friends and I have been trying to get to each of them but we keep getting stopped at the really good ones. Back in my hometown, we don't have a ton of really authentic ethnic restaurants so trying all the different foods here has been one of my favorite adventures in my time at IU. If ethnic food maybe isn't your thing, check out all the restaurants in downtown Bloomington! The Trojan Horse is a Greek place where, if you want it, they can light cheese on fire right in front of you! AH! It's a small fire though so no need to worry. Lennie's Diner is one of my family's favorite places to eat too. Tons of good sandwiches and pizzas and the french onion soup is just delectable. There is no shortage of good eats in Btown!
5. SPEND A SUMMER IN BLOOMINGTON
This item from the bucket list is actually what inspired this entire blog post. That's because it is what I am doing right now! A lesson that I have learned since coming to college is that 95% of the time, things will not go the way you expected them to. My plan for this summer had been to go home, work at the local ice cream shop, and hang out with my friends. Pretty chill. But then I heard about the opportunity to be an orientation leader. I applied, interviewed and got a job offer and I could not be happier! Spending a summer in Bloomington was something that I had thought might be fun if the opportunity had ever presented itself but it was not something I was going to go out of my way to do. Now my attitude is completely different! EVERYONE should try to spend a summer here. It is one of the most amazing communities and there is so much going on in Bloomington during the summer that doesn't happen during the school year or that I wouldn't have had time to go to while also keeping up with class and studying. So please please please make every effort you can to spend a summer in Bloomington!
It was really hard to narrow the Bucket List down to 5 things and keep in mind, this is just my opinion of what people should be sure to do when they get here. My challenge to you is to perhaps create your own bucket list. Check out the one you got at orientation and give me your 5 favorite things off of it. Maybe I am overlooking a really important one! Everyone will have their own IU experience so get out there and make the most of the time you have here!