8 things Sun Devils need to do before graduation

While “Pomp and Circumstance” isn’t playing for the Class of 2016 quite yet, graduation is closer than many seniors — myself included — would like to admit.

For the past four years, I’ve spent most of my days on either the Downtown Phoenix or Tempe campuses running to class, going to work or trying to find a place to nap. But I’ve rarely ever paid attention to the things that other students and alumni use to define the college experience at ASU.

With a little bit of reminiscing, I decided there were a few things that every student should do before shelling out too much money for a cap and gown, and picking up your diploma.

1. Eat at the P.O.D Market for at least three meals in a row

The Matthew’s Center, home to ASU Student Media, is a short 5-minute walk across Hayden Lawn from the Memorial Union. Subsequently, more of my meals than I’d like to admit have come from those shelves. They stock chips, sandwiches, salads and microwaveable meals — all the essential food groups. You haven’t done college until you have a moment when you realize the only green thing you ate this week came from a package of M&Ms.

2. Spend a night studying — or trying to — in Hayden Library

All-nighters are the lifeblood of most college students, and Hayden Library is the hippest place to study when midterms and finals roll around. With books to your left and right, Club Hayden is the best place to crank out a paper, finish a set of math problems or take a nap (even though ASU Libraries doesn’t support more than a quick “study nap”).

3. Suntan on Hayden Lawn in the middle of March

A lot of out-of-state students come to ASU with the notion that it’s all sunshine all the time — and it is. You can, and should at least, try suntanning on Hayden Lawn in the middle of March. This year Phoenix hit 90 degrees in mid-February when most cities were still shoveling snow.

4. Have a breakdown on campus

Whether it’s because you miss home, are too tired to study anymore or just realized that you will be unemployed in a few months, public crying fits are part of college. My advice? Take a nap. Hopefully the desire to scream and cry and run away passes quickly.

5. Eat one hell of a cheeseburger at Chuckbox

This is the one bucket list item that multiple alumni suggested to me. The food is exceptional, it’s just off campus and they are open later than Chick-fil-A and Qdoba in the MU. In its more than 40 years in Tempe, the restaurant has certainly sold more than the 278 burgers that the sign on the front of the store suggests. In fact, the Phoenix New Times reported that they rejected "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." Stop in to see what Guy Fieri was missing.

6. Cheer on the Sun Devils at a Territorial Cup game

I’m not a sports person by any means, but I did go to a football and hockey game during my time at ASU. There’s something appealing about the camaraderie and shared experience that transcends my lack of sports knowledge — especially at an ASU vs. UA game. And if football doesn’t appeal to you, every sport plays UA at some point. Go cheer on the Sun Devils at baseball, swim and dive or tennis before graduation.

7. Hit the town and visit Mill Avenue

Every ASU student eventually makes their way to the streets of Mill Avenue, likely because it’s the center of life in Tempe with great festivals nearby and delicious restaurants to try. Whether you go for a more traditional experience or not, even the students from other campuses should give Mill Avenue a shot.

8. Take a class that changes your perceptions

It doesn’t matter what it is, every student should takes a class that affects how they see the world. People I’ve surveyed talk about science labs, philosophy lectures and creative writing classes changing them. In my case, that class was ENG 364: Women in Literature. ASU, and universities generally, are places to encounter your biases, hear new ideas and emerge as a more informed person.

Related links:

7 best places to cry on ASU's Tempe campus

Who are these 10 ASU buildings named after?

Reach the editor-in-chief at sgslade@asu or follow @shelbygslade on Twitter

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