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Thing to Do Before You Graduate: Suggestions from NewsSmith's student writers

By Rachel Miller '09 and Jennifer DeBerardinis '11

Climb Mount Norwottuck, the highest peak in the Holyoke Range, on Mountain Day or any day

Those Mountain Day bells are more than just an invitation to sleep in. Just over 20 minutes from campus, the 1,106–foot peak offers spectacular views and a grand sense of self–satisfaction.

Get a library card from Forbes (Northampton's public library)

But be careful about racking up fines. Forbes offers much–needed solace from Neilson's cavernous stacks and stressed–out Smithies. Enjoy a Sunday afternoon of studying right across the street—but a world away—from campus.

Buy sunglasses at Faces

Or just try on a few pairs of giant neon frames and take photos for posterity. This Northampton retail institution offers so many funky pairs you won't know where to start.

Photo by Jim Gipe

Visit a professor's house for dinner

With tiny classes and super–friendly professors, you're sure to receive at least a few dinner invitations over your four years. So forgo the dining hall's tilapia for a night and enjoy a home–ooked meal and what's sure to be interesting conversation with your favorite philosophy professor.

Streak in the Quadrangle

Whether it's to celebrate the election of Barack Obama or the start of reading period with a primal scream, Smithies just love streaking. It's a collegiate tradition.

Swim in the Mill River

...past Paradise Pond, where Northampton families bring their kids. Jump off the rope swing.

Take a class with Marc Lendler, government; Kevin Quashie, Afro–American studies; Susan Van Dyne, study of women and gender; Rob Dorit, biology; Robert Hosmer, English

All of them are phenomenal professors and stars of their departments. Even if you're a neuroscience major, take Susan Van Dyne's SWAG course and see what all the fuss is about.

Close down the library at 2 a.m., but take a break at 11:45 p.m. to order a mudslide at the Campus Center Café

There's no better feeling of accomplishment than being kicked out of Neilson Library at 2 a.m.—it's like being a rebel for nerdiness. Surely, you'll need one of the famous cold coffee and chocolate concoctions from the Campus Center to fuel your academic fire. Then stumble back to your house and brag to everyone about your epic night in the library.

Become a sustainability nut

Shut down your computer every time you leave your room. Drink your tea out of glass jars. Reuse paper. Object to printed exams because of the environmental cost of paper. No matter what you do, there's someone here who's done something crazier.

Eat in every house (in one night!)

Great dining is what Smith advertises to prospective students, after all. So run around campus and, in an hour and a half, sample the cuisine of all 11 dining halls. You'll burn off the dinner calories in the process.

Photos by Lynn Graves (top) and Jim Gipe (bottom)

Discover tea

Many Smithies were inducted into the art of tea even before entering these sainted halls; if you weren't, welcome to the world of English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Kukicha twig. Tea on Fridays, tea between class, tea after dinner—get out your mugs, ladies!

Visit the greenhouse in winter

Massachusetts can get cold—really cold. When the thermometer drops below freezing, grab your Bermuda shorts and tank top and camp out among the tropic vegetation for a few hours. You'll emerge rejuvenated and ready to confront the –20 degree windchill.

Time your route, down to the second, from house to class

If you wake up at 8:52, spend 47 seconds on personal hygiene and 1.5 minutes on dressing, you can still make it to the science quad from Scales by 9 a.m. sharp. Busy women, who may or may not have stayed up until 4 a.m. writing that paper, don't have a moment to spare.

Watch a rugby game, go to an a cappella concert, see a dance performance

Yell, cheer, or just clap for talented fellow Smithies.

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