My days and nights spent in the library hunched over a computer writing papers make the weeks drudge by. However, those slow weeks studying have made for a fast four years of college, and now I find myself staring down the finish line of my time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with just a couple semesters remaining.
The thought of college coming to a close is bittersweet. I still remember my first day of college like it was yesterday — moving into my dorm room and saying goodbye to my family, anxiously ready to start the next chapter of my life in a brand new city.
Situated between two lakes on an isthmus, Madison, Wisconsin curates a healthy mix between a college campus and a city. UW-Madison students are spoiled with the city’s offerings, from hundreds of restaurants and coffee shops to the infamous Memorial Union Terrace and overflowing school spirit year round.
In my wholly biased opinion, Madison is the perfect city to attend college in. Even after living in this city for three years, there are still so many activities I haven’t participated in that make Madison unique. The difficulty is not finding something to do in Madison, but it’s making time for everything there is to do. So, for my final year and a half, I’ve compiled a to-do list so I can make the most of the time I have left.
Take advantage of Lake Mendota
Although I’ve lived less than nine blocks from not one, but two lakes for the past three years, I have yet to make it past the shorelines of Mendota and Monona out onto the open waters. The university offers equipment rentals through Outdoor UW for camping, hiking and climbing, snowshoes, ice skates and paddling equipment at a discount for students. As of now I may be a paddle boarding newbie, but by the end of next year hopefully I can balance and leisurely paddle around the lake without falling in.
Attend more Badger sporting events
Some of my favorite memories from college stem from game days as a Badger. However, I’ve only attended football games at Camp Randall. Over the next year, I hope to change that by attending a variety of sporting events. Teams at the top of my list to watch over the next year include the women’s ice hockey team, the men’s ice hockey team, the women’s volleyball team and the men’s basketball team.
Explore campus buildings
As a journalism student, my academic scenery is limited to a few buildings. I am usually found walking from the basement of Vilas Hall to random rooms in Mosse Humanities, then occasionally meandering over to Helen C. White Hall. When I stray from my typical path, I see beautiful buildings I’ve never set foot in. For my last year on campus, I will wander in hopes of being lost, maybe finding my new favorite study spot in a building I didn’t even know existed.
Go inside the Wisconsin Capitol
Fairly simple and easily achievable, but on principle I cannot say I truly lived in Madison for four years without going inside the governmental hub of Wisconsin. Maybe I’ll even visit during the holidays to see the Capitol Holiday Tree lit up.
As I finish my last two months of junior year and look ahead toward senior year, I plan to make the most of the limited time I have left as a UW-Madison student.
I hope this list gives you a starting point to enjoy the university, city of Madison and everything it has to offer. If not, let it instead serve as inspiration to create your own to-do list. The four “long” years of college are much shorter in hindsight, so my advice is to make the very most of every moment you possibly can.