These activities for college students will help you let loose, have fun, and be less stressed out over academics!
Remember the night before the dreaded midterm, when you texted your friend “I am so stressed about this test… I’m sure many of us do, because we have all been through countless hours of studying and completing our assignments.
Sometimes, in our study sessions, I feel that many of us have broken down into tears, shamed ourselves for an unideal GPA, or resorted to other self-sabotaging behaviors. Although one grade may not determine your future, it may still feel impactful in that particular moment.
Due to these circumstances, mental health has been a widely discussed topic amongst colleges. Ever since the pandemic started, a survey by Boston University showed that the rates of anxiety and depression among college students are increasing. As we progress onto our college career, many of us may feel these impacts.
Late-night studying in breakout rooms at the library is just one part of the college experience. But how can we declutter from college student stress and actually have fun?
Good news! Listed below are some tips proven by research, or some activities which my peers and I would often partake in when our semester ends. There are so many fun ways to incorporate extracurricular activities with the campus community and make it enriching for involved students!
30 Activities For College Students
1) Go on a road trip.
Sometimes, the best solution is to remove yourself from the hustle-and-bustle and de-stress with a road trip to the countryside. It does feel great to experience nature and explore new places, especially with your friends. Although it may take a few hours to reach the destination, you’ll be more than happy once you see you achieve your end-of-semester plans.
2) Try out a new project.
Have you ever wanted to try something that was not school-related? Sure, the word “project” may remind you of school, but there are other types of projects that you can explore.
Perhaps, you wanted to try making your own bracelet or craft your own origami. All you need are some materials and instructions, and you’re all set. If you don’t want to work solo – try getting together in small groups to share supplies and ideas!
3) Go to a concert.
Seeing your favorite musician or band in action is surreal, and the best way to make that happen is by going to a concert. Sure, concerts are expensive but they’re almost like a once in a lifetime experience.
Even a small concert at your local festival is great for some music and fun relaxation. Student groups at college campuses often host an end-of-semester concert, why not join a new club, maybe work on your leadership skills, and enjoy putting on a music event of your choosing!
Or, if hosting a concert isn’t in the school budget, try having an open mic night…it’s a great way to showcase new talent, have some student clubs collaborate, and another way to celebrate the diverse skills of your classmates!
4) Feeling bold? Go to a music festival.
Perhaps you are a huge music fan and a concert may be too short-term for your liking. If you want to see tons of your favorite bands and artists perform, perhaps you can purchase tickets to a music festival.
You will interact and meet tons of interesting people, as well as make new friends. And best of all, there are tons of great music festivals out there, even if you live in a small town – it does not need to be Coachella.
5) Explore a new area around your city or town.
If you live in a big, metropolitan city, there are tons of new places which you may have not explored as of yet. You can jot these places down, and prepare an outing on your day off from your summer job. You could give yourself a leadership role and organize a group of current students to join you on a tour. Student involvement always looks good with alumni groups!
Or, if you just want to explore with a friend or two, try setting up a small scavenger hunt where the common goal is to find cool new places to hang out in your town or city.
6) Try to start a collage of your goals.
I know it’s difficult to keep up with your aspirations after multiple lower-than-expected test scores and when plenty of people you meet in college just come-and-go. However, you can stay hopeful by starting a collage.
Ask yourself what you envision for your future and work from there. It’s ok that it’s an open-ended question! You can add pictures of your favorite places or your favorite food to your collage, and mash them all up the way you want it.
7) Try out some new dessert places.
There’s nothing better than ordering an ice cream, bubble tea, or cake right after your exam. Since our time in college is filled with studying, or preparing for extracurriculars, many of us may not have the time to try out new desserts or cafes.
However, a good way to treat yourself after surviving a hectic semester is to explore a new dessert place, and perhaps order a unique item on the menu. Treat yourself, as they say. Cake is not just for birthday parties anymore!
8) Take a social media break.
Most of our college life, especially in our generation nowadays, revolves around social media. We meet people from our college through social media, and perhaps even follow some influencers from our school.
Although social media is great in terms of finding connections or making friends, in the end, it can still be detrimental to our mental health. When we are feeling overwhelmed, it may be best to take a break from all the drama on social media to focus on ourselves and our own goals.
Take a look at the different student organizations. A social media break is the perfect time to join or start a board game club, get involved in classroom activities, or make new friends by exploring the different groups on campus.
9) Volunteer for a one-day event.
If you feel like you want to give back to your own community, you can sign up to volunteer for a one-day event. A lot of organizations have these opportunities and they will post them on the website. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and build up experience for new skills, as well as learn more about social issues and de-stress from those tedious assignments.
10) Go shopping.
If you feel that you need to upgrade your wardrobe, it may be time to go to the nearby mall and shop for some clothes. Although I do understand that clothing is expensive these days, you can still purchase less clothes and be able to style a trendy outfit. After all, you may need a fashion makeover after all of those weeks of grinding.
11) Declutter your wardrobe.
Similar to my previous point, you can also declutter your wardrobe if you feel that you need to change your style. By decluttering your wardrobe, you may feel more relieved when choosing outfits, especially after the end of a hectic semester.
12) Start your own blog.
Now that the semester is over, you may feel that you have more time on your hands to pursue your interests. If your interest is in writing, you can start your own blog and write about your favorite topics, whether it is about food, fashion, or your favorite places on campus. You will be surprised by what you can achieve and how many subject areas you can cover.
13) Take more photos and share them with the world.
I’m not sure about you, but in my opinion, photography is a great way to de-stress. You’re capturing your favorite moments, and you can share these moments with your friends and family.
If you are attending an event, you can take a camera or even your phone with you to capture some memories. When you graduate college, you’ll feel a hint of nostalgia as soon as you pull up those photos.
14) Learn more about new cultures.
Have you ever felt interested in exploring a culture from around the world? If so, you can learn about these new cultures whenever you feel uptight from tedious school assignments. You can borrow some books from the library or even research about the culture over the internet, and trust me, you’ll feel like you’re diving into a whole new world.
15) Try a fitness routine.
If you want to be more physically active, you can also try to establish your own fitness routine. You don’t need to constantly go to the gym to do this, in fact, you can save around 30 minutes a day to do some yoga, or pilates. These routines also help with mindfulness too!
16) Watch your favorite (cartoon) shows or movies.
During finals week, it is easy to become so overwhelmed to the point where you forget about your interests prior to the semester. You may lose track of the shows that you used to watch, or the movies that you liked. However, you can return to these hobbies when your semester is over by binging on some new shows.
17) Set up a picnic with friends.
If you’re an outdoorsy person who loves nature, or if you just despise the restaurants because of the loud noise, a good way to interact with your friends in a quiet manner is to set up a picnic. You can pick a date and a location at your nearby park, when it is sunny outside, and have a little get-together potluck-style feast. This is especially fun to celebrate the end of spring semesters because the weather is nicer and summer is ahead!
18) Create some cool graffiti art at home.
If you’re a fan of the arts and love to take pictures at graffiti, you can also create your own graffiti at home. Whenever you’re feeling anxious, you can paint the words that describe your emotions on a piece of paper, and decorate the background of the paper in any manner that you wish. You’ll be surprised by the results.
19) Start bullet-journaling or scrapbooking.
A great way to convey your thoughts confidentially is by purchasing your own bullet journal or scrapbook. You can write down your thoughts and your goals, and decorate the words with different colors and stickers. This will allow you to clear your mind from those negative thoughts and feelings.
Even if you’re not a fine arts student, crafting your own journal may help you organize subject matter as you go over a new class’s course material, or see the semester with a different perspective after you finish.
20) Change your morning routine.
If you are unhappy with your morning routine and feel that it is taking up so much energy in your day, you can change your morning routine depending on your needs. For example, you can squeeze in a self-care session with a skincare routine, or a bullet journaling session before you head off for work or summer school. However, keep in mind that not everyone has the same morning routine and a routine that works for one individual may not work for the other.
21) Try to learn something new everyday.
Learning a new subject, idea or concept is not only for academic purposes, but it can be for our own personal growth as well. You can learn something new about your friends or your family, by asking them about their hobbies and interests. It is great to get into the habit of life-long learning especially during your college years.
22) Make sure you give yourself enough break-time.
If you feel very overwhelmed with the amount of schoolwork, job applications, or interviews, you still need to make sure that you are giving yourself some breaks to eat, rest, or de-stress. You may feel that you need to complete your projects in a specific deadline, but it is always great to take a break and pace yourself throughout the process. This will allow you to feel refreshed and motivated whenever you start a new task.
23) Try a new recipe everyday.
It may be tiring to cook meals, but it is great to try new dishes everyday. These can be new recipes from different cultures, so you will be able to travel within the realms of your kitchen. After all, you’ll never know what you like. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and learn a new skill in the kitchen.
24) Listen to a new music playlist.
Another way to mentally declutter is to listen to a new genre of music. You may want to try to find something more slow-paced with a different melody. You’ll never know what you like, and perhaps the world of music may surprise you with its offerings.
25) Connect with your former classmates.
Have you not talked to your classmate in awhile? If so, you can connect with them with a coffee chat and engage in a friendly conversation with them. You can also do this to someone you have worked a group project with – you’ll never know who you’ll meet!
26) Add more decorations around the house.
Whether you’re living by yourself or with your parents, you’ll probably notice that the environment around you affects the way you study for school. If you’re studying in your room, you can perhaps customize the room to your liking by adding posters, pictures, or new wallpaper. You’ll notice a difference in no time!
27) Grow some plants around the room.
Perhaps you’re a lover of nature, and if you are, you can buy some more plants and put them around the room. Not only will you be surrounded by nature, but studies have shown that having plants will actually increase your productivity level by 15%. Dorm rooms don’t have to be blah anymore!
28) Declutter your college materials.
Once you’re done with the semester, a good idea is to perhaps declutter your school work and ask yourself which assignments you would like to keep, and which ones you would like to throw away. You may need some of these assignments for review especially for next semester. But once you declutter these materials, you’ll feel more than happy to have accomplished the semester.
29) Catch up on some sleep.
College life can be daunting when it comes to sleep schedules. After staying up late to study for midterms or complete assignments, it may be great to catch up on sleep once the semester is over. Just make sure that you’re getting enough hours and you’re not feeling tired throughout the day. Getting enough sleep will have a positive impact on your overall life!
30) Go on a photo walk with your friends.
As soon as you finish your last exam, you can definitely go on a walk around the nearby communities with your friends. Bring out a small camera, preferably a disposable or a polaroid, and take some candid pictures of you and your friends. This is a great idea for an end of the semester ritual and a way to capture memories with your college friends.
In Summary: 30 Activities For College Students
There are plenty of other ways to destress according to your own interests or hobbies. You aren’t the first student to feel the pressure of school, nor will you be the last.
However, having the time to re-connect with others and re-visit your old hobbies is rewarding especially after having to study and complete assignments on a set schedule. Whatever it is, make sure to take the time off to enjoy yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for completing an excellent semester.