9 Awesome Things To Do In Your Hometown Before You Leave For College

One of the most appealing things about going away to college is the prospect of being able to leave your hometown. Finally. But what if I told you you might *gasp* miss some parts of your hometown? It’s true! There are some crucial things to check off your bucket list in order to properly say goodbye to the place that raised you before you jet off to wherever you’re going – even for people who are dying to GTFO. Yes, in even the most lame, boring places, there are some things that need to get done, people that need to be seen, and adventures to be had before you completely leave everything you’ve ever known and start this new chapter in your life.

As someone who’s officially reached “receiving Facebook notifications about their 10 year reunion” years old, my social media is suddenly exploding with nostalgia about high school. Even 10 years ago, I remember rolling my eyes when people told me to make the best of living in my hometown as a high schooler. It was a lot of “Yeah, right. Bridgewater is lame and I hope I never come back… except for Christmas.” So, know that I’m aware that I’m about to be a cliche when I tell you that there’s some fun to be had in your little town before you go. And none of it sucks! No matter where you live, you can throw yourself and your town one last hurrah. Here’s a handy checklist of nine awesome things to do in your hometown before you’re gone for good or just for now.


Hang Out With Someone You've Never Hung Out With

They don't even have to be from *your* high school! That hottie from the next town over who you'd see at football games? Ask him out. Your favorite person who works at that ice cream shop you always go to? See if she wants to hang. The girl you always talk to in class and say you're going to hang out with but then you never make plans? Finally make the plans! The familiar faces you're so used to seeing aren't going to be around forever. It's easy to become complacent and put off getting to know people for a perfect, unspecific time in the future. You know what? That time is now. Especially if peer pressure influenced you not hanging out with certain people, jump on that now. No one's going to judge you because no one cares anymore.

Source: iStock

Research A Local Oddity And Go On An Adventure

I've been to The Devil's Tree exactly once and it was so that I had a conversation topic when people asked where I was from in college and you know what? It's still a handy anecdote today. You're local to a strange oddity that you may not even know about. A good place to start is Google (search your town/area + tourism), your library, or older friends and relatives. It could be lame or weird, but you did it! You've fully explored your town and gotten the most out of it. Take all the pictures - Instagram them to death if you want. They're excellent conversation starters.

Source: iStock

Go To A Party You Would Normally Bail On

Real talk: I didn't go to parties in high school because I felt anxious about hanging with a different crowd. I was comfortable hanging with my friends from theatre school but almost died from anxiety when a friend from English class invited me to a party. If you're used to bailing on parties due to anxiety, I encourage you to go just for the sake of going. And this might be controversial, but I encourage you to crash a party if you're not someone who gets invited. Straight up. What's the worst that could happen?

Source: iStock

Get One Last Good Hang In Your Spot With Your Crew

You have no idea what an ordeal it is to get a group hang going after you graduate high school. Starting almost immediately, you're all only ever going to be together again for holidays and maybe the summer, so during those times family is going to take up a significant block of that time and coordinating schedules is a giant hassle. Have one big hang at your favorite diner, movie theatre, bowling alley, parking lot, wherever. You may be able to hang there again all together, but be prepared for the reality that maybe that won't happen again for a long time.

Source: iStock

Hit Up The Place You Loved As A Kid

Play spaces may have something to say about letting a bunch of teenagers in, but that park where you learned how to ride your bike, the hill you used to sled down, or that carousel you were obsessed with are perfect places to start. Go and take throwback pics, you'll be glad you did. The big slide you were afraid of will seem smaller and you will consequently feel bigger. Take a greatest hits childhood tour. Spend a whole day doing it and get on that carousel, if you want. Being a kid is the best and you're about to start your life as an adult, so now's as good a time as any.

Source: iStock

Have A Traditional Sleepover

Sleepovers are the best! Get in a matching pajama set, like you did when you were a kid, grab your sleeping bag, and crash in your friend's basement for the night. Play truth or dare, just like you used to, only now you'll actually be daring and have deeper truths to tell. Nothing says friends forever like a sleepover. Binge on all the junk food you can and watch movies until your eyes start to close themselves. Like I said, getting the gang back together once you graduate is going to be difficult, so making a big deal about group hangs now is totally acceptable.

Source: iStock

Take A Staycation With Your Besties

Find somewhere cool nearby and book a hotel room. It doesn't even have to be someplace cool - it could just be a nice hotel near where you live that you guys have always seen. Pretend you're on vacation or just enjoy the freedom of doing whatever you want in a hotel room without parents looking over your shoulders.

Source: iStock

Spend The Day With Your Parents

It's lame, I know, but hear me out. They know about cool stuff that you don't. Don't believe me? They moved to this town for a reason. Before I moved to Los Angeles, my mom took me to get a massage at an awesome spa I would've never known about if I blew off family hangs because they were stupid. They're privy to hidden local gems that may not be on your radar. Let them plan an excursion for just you and let them treat you. It'll feel nice.

Source: iStock

Take An Aimless Joy Ride Through Town

Provided you have your drivers license, this does wonders for feeling a sense of closure. If not, tag team with a friend and sit shotgun. A lot of your memories take place within a 20 mile radius and it's silly how fast they can go by when you're driving past in a car. Pack some snacks, make a killer playlist, and get aimless driving down the backroads you used to take to get around the highway mess. Drive past where you used to take dance class or where you used to do karate. It's surprisingly fun and doesn't take more than a few hours.

Source: iStock

Which of these things are on your bucket list? What did we forget to include? Let me know in the comments.

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.

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