Hijabi Hot Takes: Mountaineer bucket list


Nadine Jallal, Opinion Writer

The butterflies in a student’s stomach as they click “commit” to their admission offer from App State are only comparable to the butterflies in a student’s stomach on graduation day. However, somewhere in between is what many people call the best four years of one’s life. Here is a list of things every Mountaineer should aim to do before graduating from App State and leaving Boone, the town they called home for four years.

Do absolutely everything and nothing at all on Sanford Mall

A staple of the App State experience is participating in whatever shenanigans, or lack of shenanigans, are happening on Sanford Mall. From APPS events to taking a quick snooze on the grass, Sanford Mall is home to so many opportunities for memory making at App State. 

Grabbing a towel and taking a nap on the green is as fulfilling as standing in line for a customizable street sign during an APPS event. Make the nap even more worth it and lay directly under the sun for a tan. 

If laying on the ground seems unappealing, get into hammocking instead and secure a spot in the sturdy trees on the edges of the mall. While hanging from these trees, students should go ahead and check off another bucket list item and unleash their inner child by climbing those trees and hanging out at the top.

Spending some time on Sanford Mall is a must for every App State student, no matter what they do on it. That strip of grass is home to countless fond memories, with no two memories being the same, made by years of App State students.

Experience the Blue Ridge Parkway

App State’s location near the Blue Ridge Parkway is a perk everybody should take advantage of. Experiencing everything one can do on the Parkway can take four years, but there are a few places that should definitely be on every mountaineer bucket list.

Watching both the sunset and sunrise while parked at one of the Parkway’s over 200 overlooks is a must for every App State student. Some campus favorites include the Thunder  Hill Overlook, Rough Ridge, Beacon Heights and more. 

If sitting and watching a sunset or sunrise is too stationary, there are countless hiking trails on the Parkway to choose from to get things moving. Some of the most popular hikes on the Parkway near Boone or Blowing Rock include but are not limited to the Cascades Trail, Rough Ridge, the Bass Lake Trail and the Beacon Heights Overlook Trail. Even homebodies can enjoy a hike on the Parkway while at App State as some trails are as short as a quarter mile and provide scenic views unique to the Appalachians. 

Take a dip into Trash Can Falls 

Actually called Laurel Creek Falls, Trash Can Falls is a swimming hole App State students have become quite familiar with. Located about 15 minutes away from campus, App State students often pile into their friends’ cars on a hot day to cool off in the pristine waters of the swimming hole. If an App State student has not had the chance to experience Trash Can Falls, this month is the perfect time to check it off the bucket list.

Make a home in clubs and organizations

This basic advice everybody gives to college students is, of course, an item on the Mountaineer buck list for good reason. When is anyone ever going to get a chance to join niche clubs outside of college campus? The chances are probably slim to none. Taking advantage of the long list of clubs and organizations on App State’s campus is a must for every student. Finding that one hobby, subject or passion to pursue in a club can make all the difference in a college experience. Friend groups and comfort crowds can be made inside a niche club maybe only four people know about. Students should take advantage of the spaces provided by the university and peers to pursue the interesting things that excite them, whether those things have anything to do with their future careers or not. 

Explore the Boone community … or other communities

It is easy to feel like campus is in its own little bubble on top of the world during these four years. While it can be fun to exist in a bubble, graduating will pop that bubble within the blink of an eye. The best way to not be blindsided by “the real world” everyone warns students about is to be active in the communities one lives in and cares about. The Boone community welcomes a new cohort of App State students every year with one hope: they will have a positive impact on the community. 

Before graduating, students should aim to get to know this generous town that allows them to take up space here and leave it better than they found it. Get to know the locals; make friends with them. Respect their time and space. Support their businesses. Understand their history. Volunteer. Donate. Uplift this community so it could uplift the university.

It goes without saying that not all App State students are living in Boone full-time. Some have taken advantage of another bucket list item: study abroad opportunities. Studying abroad is hard, but it is oh so rewarding to pop that bubble of being on campus by traveling the world. Being able to learn the “real world” lessons while being in a period of learning as a college student is a rare opportunity many should take advantage of before graduating.