things to do before graduation

10 Things You Absolutely Have to Do Before Graduating

Where’d those four (or five) years go? It was just yesterday you were walking around campus with a paper map and trying desperately to figure out where your classes were — right?! Class of 2017, you know what’s up. You’ve seen Hillsborough Street transform, watched Harrelson Hall reduced to a giant hole in the ground, and survived several snowmageddons unscathed.

In just a few months, you’ll pack into PNC Arena with your friends, turn your tassel, and sing the Alma Mater for the last time as an undergrad — better make the most of it! Here’s what you need to do before commencement on May 13th.

Mitch's Tavern sign

10. Eat at the Oldest Restaurants Near Campus

If you haven’t already tried all the restaurants around campus already, don’t feel bad. You at least need to eat at the campus icons that alumni from decades ago know and love.

Amedeo’s has been a landmark on Western Boulevard since 1963, known for everything from its amazing Italian food to impressive NC State decor. Absolutely every square inch of wall space is taken up by memorabilia and framed photos of college athletes. (Student specials: 50% off an entree on Tuesdays after 4 PM. Bring your student ID.)

Mitch’s Tavern is another staple of campus life. It’s been on Hillsborough Street since the 1970s (and before that, it was a nightclub called The Jolly Knave). People love this place. Except for the London Broil, all of the menu items are less than $7. Seriously.

Player’s Retreat is a timeless sports bar that has stuck around since 1951, and it has been featured in Our State magazine, voted #3 Best Bar in Raleigh, and named “Best Place to People-Watch.” It’s tucked away off the Belltower roundabout on Oberlin Road.

panoramic view of PNC Arena during an NC State vs. UNC basketball game

9. Go to at Least One Rivalry Game

It doesn’t matter if it’s football, basketball, volleyball, or hockey. Scream the lines of “Red and White” with pride as NC State takes on UNC in any and every sport.

8. Attempt the Krispy Kreme Challenge

Compete (or just walk) for a good cause at this unique Raleigh tradition. This year’s race is on February 4th; you can register for the Krispy Kreme Challenge here.

graffiti in free expression tunnel

7. Paint the Tunnel

Leave your mark (and indulge your inner rebel) on the paint-caked walls of the Free Expression Tunnel. Bonus points if your graffiti lasts more than 24 hours.

6. Memorize the Lyrics to the Fight Song

Yep, the Fight Song actually has words. Next time you go to a basketball game, memorize the lyrics and sing along with the cheerleaders and pep band:

Shout aloud to the men who will play the game to win

We’re behind you, keep fighting for State

Hold that line, hold them fast, we’ll reach victory at last

We’re behind you, keep fighting for State

Rise up to the fray and let your colors wave

Shout out for dear old NC State (Go State!)

For where e’er we go, we’ll let the whole world know

We’re behind you, keep fighting for State

video game room in DH Hill

5. Pull an All-Nighter at DH Hill

You’ll need snacks, plenty of Netflix breaks, and a pressing deadline. (And if you haven’t pulled an all-nighter at the library, are you even an NC State student?)

4. Wear Pink to the Play 4 Kay Game

Support friends, family, and neighbors who are cancer survivors at the Play 4 Kay game (formerly known as the Hoops 4 Hope game). This year, the women’s basketball team takes on Wake Forest on Sunday, February 19th.

3. Visit the NC State Farmers’ Market

Nope, not the one on the Brickyard, the other one. The State Farmers’ Market is off Lake Wheeler Road and open every day until 6 PM. You can get everything from fresh fruits to handmade soaps here.

exterior of NC State library

2. Explore Hunt Library (If You Haven’t Already)

Hunt Library is so cool it’s made it in Our State magazine and in SF Gate‘s list of the “most spectacular libraries in the world.” Watch the BookBot go fetch, try out all the cool chairs, take a picture of Lake Raleigh from the terrace, and finish your self-guided tour with Howling Cow ice cream.

1. Take Graduation Photos by the Belltower

Sure, everyone does it. But that’s what makes a Belltower graduation shot so special. Don your cap and gown, throw up a wolf sign, and snap a photo for Instagram.

Stay Connected Even After Graduation

What’s the phrase, “NC State will always be there to welcome you home”? Okay, maybe it’s a quote from J.K. Rowling, but it still applies. Even after you graduate in May, you can always come back and visit your favorite places, take photos by all the landmarks, and keep up with what’s happening on campus. (Follow us, we’ll keep you updated!)


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