Dear College Freshmen
So you don't want to drink this weekend? Here's the list you've been looking for...things to do in college when YOU DON'T WANT TO DRINK!
By Sara Utsugi
Congratulations! This is the article you want to pop up when you search “What to do on a saturday night in college besides party” or “how to have fun in college without drinking” or “free things to do on a saturday night in college” or maybe even “how to have sober fun in college”. Welcome friends. We’re here to enlighten you.
When you need some me time
Binge watch your favorite show or movies-There is no shame in binge watching Netflix, especially if your other option would be to sit and do nothing. Weekend nights in are the perfect opportunity to catch up on your favorite show.
Spa night- Spend a night pampering yourself. Do your nails while soaking in the tub with a face mask on. Make sure you get a fancy bath bomb and light a few yummy smelling candles (if candles are allowed...please don’t burn down your dorm)
Read a good book- The campus is quiet, and your roommates are probably gone. This is the perfect time to read a book you’ve been meaning to start since two years ago. If reading puts you to sleep, see if you can find a recording of it on Spotify for free. And if not, there’s always Audible.
Get reflective and journal away- I found my love of journaling in college. I loved the idea of having a personal written account of everything happening in my life. I feel like journaling is easiest when you’re alone and can speak your thoughts out before writing them down, so a night in is a great time to do this since you’ll hopefully have no roommates to judge you. Journaling is where I discovered my knack for writing, so maybe it can inspire you to start a blog too!
Clean your room/do laundry- Because everyone's out of the dorms, Saturday night is the optimal time to do laundry. There won’t be a wait for the washing machine, so the chance of a stranger taking your clothes out for you drastically decreases. Also, you can pretty much walk around in your robe without running into anyone you know. Take advantage of your roommate(s) being out. Blast your music and have fun cleaning!
Practice self improvement- Read a self help book, watch a TED talk or recite your mantra out loud without the curious looks of a roommate. I don’t know why, but sometimes it can be uncomfortable to listen to a TED talk when your roommate is 6 feet away doing her nails. At least for me, I prefer to do more reflective things when I’m by myself.
Go to the gym- Especially if you’re not comfortable in the gym, Saturday night is the perfect time to go. The similar theme here is to take advantage of an empty campus and do things you prefer to do alone. Most schools keep their gyms open late at night almost seven days a week, so change into your workout clothes and hit the gym!
Call your family- Your family is always looking forward to hearing from you, so take this time alone to reach out to them and let them know you’re alive. If you have a pet, this is also a good time to call home since you can use your “pet voice” without judgement. This worked well for me until my parents began having more of a social life than I did, so now I call home every Sunday.
Go to sleep early- Sometimes, an early night can completely rejuvenate a person. Take a hot shower, go through the long version of your night routine and fall asleep to some peaceful music. Your roommates won’t be back until you’re fast asleep, so don’t worry about being disturbed.
When you want to hangout but don’t have a car
Slumber party- I’m talking full out slumber party. Set up your bedding on the floor, have everyone bring a snack and laugh the night away just like you’re back in elementary school.
Host a game night- Sometimes a good old board game is all you need. Maybe you’re old school and go with Monopoly, or maybe you like faster paced games like Pie Face. Old fashioned cards are also a good idea, or you can spice it up with new favorites like Cards Against Humanity, What do you Meme or Obama Llama.
Play Just Dance or sing karaoke- For you more theatrical people, this is the perfect night-in that will ensure lots of laughs and great memories. There’s also no better way to break the ice with new friends than embarrassing yourselves together! So go to your student lounge if you don’t have a TV in your room and have a blast. If you don’t have a game console either, you can just youtube Just Dance or karaoke videos.
Bake something or experiment with microwave food- I did this almost every weekend the first semester of college because Kaitlyn and I loved dessert and were always bored on the weekend. Rather than buying an expensive dessert from the stores nearby, we opted to experiment with microwave cooking. We made things like s’mores dip, muddy buddies and even cookies when a friend brought over their toaster oven. So get creative and enjoy your cooking together.
Host a movie marathon- This is another thing that Kaitlyn and I did. We spent two weekends in a row marathoning all 6 of the Star Wars movies. Even though I would strongly recommend marathoning Star Wars, it can be any movie series. Some suggestions are High School Musical, Harry Potter (I still haven’t watched any of the movies, so Kaitlyn is really trying to make this happen), Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean, and if you’re feeling ambitious, Fast and Furious (are they finally done making them?).
Craft night #diyordie- Although I don’t personally love crafting, it seems to be a popular thing to do. Kaitlyn is more into this side, so check out her DIY projects here. A project that I wish I’d done my freshman year is start a scrapbook. So many people have Polaroid cameras, and printing is extremely accessible. With cute stickers and paper, it would be a fun project to update every week. I know that I made a lot of dorm decor my freshman year, so why not get a few friends together and DIY dorm decorations together.
Start a book club- I know this is really nerdy, but if you’re going to stay in and read a book, why not read with friends? This is a low energy way to still socialize and get out there while enjoying a good read. It can also be fun to hear different insight on an old favorite.
Acroyoga- My housemates and I have spent hours attempting acroyoga positions. Find a clear space in your dorm or maybe a grassy patch on campus, google "easy acrogoya poses" and get ready to laugh the night away while also sort of getting a workout.
When you want to hangout and are blessed with a car
Mini golf- Most college campuses have some sort of mini golf or arcade-like place nearby. Grab a few friends and head out for a night of fun! Even if you all suck, it’s better than staying in your room all alone doing nothing.
Visit a friend from back home- When you’re feeling a bit homesick, it’s always super comforting to see a familiar face. If you know all your friends are going to party that weekend, plan a visit with a friend who goes to school nearby. In California, a good transportation option is the Metro which is around $6 depending on where you’re going. Getting out of the city you’re living in and having a change of scenery with an old friend might just be the cure for your homesickness.
Go to a restaurant that stays open late- Most college campuses have dining options that are walking distance (or at least a cheap uber away) from campus. Go on a spontaneous late-night snack run and stuff your face with the foods you deny yourself during the week.
Hit up a concert- It doesn't matter whether you know all the artist's songs by heart or have never heard of them before. Concerts are always fun with the right people, so get together a gang, dress up in your favorite concert clothes and have a night on the town listening to live music.
Geocaching- This is an activity that I’m not personally familiar with, however, I’ve had a ton of people tell me I need to try it out. From my basic understanding, I believe you sign up and then go “hunting” for geocaches or caches all around the world. It’s described as the world’s largest treasure hunt so try it out at https://www.geocaching.com/play and let me know what you think!
Go to a sporting event- Whether you're supporting your college or a local professional team, sporting events are always a good excuse to wear an obnoxious amount of color while eating junk food with your best friends. Usually, there are cheap tickets available, and despite the fact that they'll probably be in the nose-bleeds, you're still out doing something!
Go to the movie theater- While you could go to the movies by yourself, it’s always more fun to go with others. Invite a few friends to see the hottest movie and maybe even splurge for the reclining seats.
Have a photoshoot- Yes, you could also do this without a car on your campus, how how great would it be to check out your city or a cool town you've heard about nearby. Grab a camera or even your iPhone, throw on a cute outfit and get shooting! Explore your city- Even if shops aren't open, it's still fun to walk around the city at night, taking in the beauty of your new home.
As you can see, there are lots ways to spend your Saturday night even when you don't want to go to a party. A fun Saturday can mean extremely different things for different people, especially in college when students have the freedom to be whoever and do whatever they want to do. Regardless of your definition of Saturday Night, I hope that you have nothing but the best college experience making the most of your weekends but never feeling pressured to party if you don't want to. As always, I'm wishing you the best from behind the screen, and have a great weekend!