A college student’s freshman year can be a challenge, but for the brave few University of Mississippi students who want more of a challenge, there is the Ole Miss Freshman Bucket List.
Some bucket list items include climbing to the top of the Phi Mu fountain, visiting Faulkner’s grave, sneaking onto the Vaught-Hemingway stadium field, tailgating in the Grove and watching the Walk of Champions, eating chicken-on-a-stick, and visiting the tunnels. These unique traditions can only be checked off the list in Oxford.
Gabrielle Paderewski, a UM sophomore transfer student, said she missed out on the “hype of the freshman bucket list” by not attending UM freshman year. Luckily, this year her friends took her to some of the popular hot spots.
“The Ole Miss freshman bucket list idea is a fun way to explore and learn more about the university and the town that we live in,” she said. “I got to try things I never have before like chicken-on-a-stick. I also learned a lot about Faulkner in my writing classes, so I decided to visit his grave and explore his house, which allowed me to physically get to see and apply what I learned in class, which was another check off the bucket list.”
Paderewski grew up in Savannah, Georgia, then attended the University of Tampa her freshman year of college. She later transferred to UM her sophomore year.
Paderewski left Tampa because: “I wanted a big SEC college feel, and I wanted to have a smaller town that was focused on the school. When I got here, that’s exactly what I found. Everyone has, in one way or another, a connection to the student body and a connection to the Ole Miss lifestyle.”
Paige Bourdon, a UM junior, said she made sure she completed everything on the Ole Miss Freshman Bucket List. “That was climbing to the very top of the Phi Mu fountain (with water in it), sneaking onto the field, and visiting the tunnels.
“I never really considered chicken-on-a-stick to be a bucket list item, because I ate that way too often anyways,” she said. “But in all seriousness, the bucket list made me jump out of my comfort zone freshman year and meet my long-time friends that did those things with me. I believe it’s a great bonding experience and makes a stressful freshman year more fun.”
UM’s bucket list may not be known by Oxford outsiders. It’s a way for new students to have a reason to explore the Oxford area. With a mix of history and added fun, students make memories that will last forever.
Olivia Liacos, a former UM student, checked hanging out in the Grove off her bucket list freshmen year.
“I come from a place that values basketball way more than they do football,” she said, “so coming to Ole Miss and seeing how passionate everyone is here about their football team was such an exciting experience.
“The Grove is definitely something every freshman should at least experience once during the fall season. Freshman year, my friends and I loved getting ready together on game days, and we never missed an opportunity to watch the Walk of Champions.”
Many agreed that, while traditional challenges are fun, updated challenges could be added. For some, the bucket list sounds like a way to get in trouble, but if tasks are completed safely and legally, it could be a fun way to begin freshmen year.
UM senior Bailey Brown checked a few things off the list. “I remember hearing about that bucket list the second day of freshman year,” she said. “I wanted to immediately complete everything. It became a competition for me. But reality hit, and I only completed three things.
“I like how the Ole Miss student body has a secret floating around campus, and only a few have completed it … Oh, and some advice, the Phi Mu fountain is much easier to climb when there’s no water in it.”
Do you have a suggestion for the Ole Miss Freshmen Bucket List? If so, post a comment below.