Tailgating Essentials for College Students

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Tailgating a college football game is a rite of passage for all university students. Even if your team isn’t a D1 school that doesn’t mean your university doesn’t take tailgating seriously! Some of the best memories are made at a tailgate, and with everyone in high spirits and full of pride, you’d be silly to miss it. But not coming prepared for the fun is a game-breaker! Plan right and in advance by making sure your car or bag is packed with these ten essential items for tailgating.

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1.   Spirit Wear

If you’re heading to the game, you’d better look like you know which team you’re rooting for! If you can’t afford the full on jersey, grab a cute fitted t-shirt and accessorize with face paint, hair bows, foam fingers, and more. Just don’t be caught dead wearing the other team’s colors! Visit the OCM college gear shop to score your team’s wear!

2.   Team Blankets

Rain or shine, cold or hot — football is played in just about every climate across the United States. Bring a team blanket to add to the spirit, cover up on chilly days, protect yourself from the rain or snow, or utilize as a cushion to an uncomfortable seat. You can even drape the team blanket over your vehicle as a way to add some pride to your tailgating space.

3.   Tasty Food

The key to doing tailgating food right is that it has to be portable. This usually leaves you with burgers and hot dogs, but you can take your tailgating to the next level by thinking outside of the box. Some crowd pleasers include chili, grilled jalapeno poppers, no-mess mini-pizzas, and Frito pie. Don’t forget about desserts either! Decorate team-themed cookies or ice some cupcakes in your team’s colors.

4.   Playlist

Music is essential, especially when pumping your friends up for the game! Set up your playlist to include your favorite high-energy tunes. If you don’t want your car running all day, you may also want to bring along some portable, battery operated speakers as well. This way, you can take them with you wherever you go!

5.   Games

It wouldn’t be a tailgate unless there was a bean bag toss! But you don’t have to stick to just that. Grab some board games, DIY a football toss, create a giant sized Jenga, or go traditional with lasso golf. Your fellow tailgaters will love the bit of entertainment and a jolt of early competition.

6.   Chairs

No one wants to stand around for hours. Folding chairs or at least a few comfy seating areas is a must-have. While travel chairs are best, you can also create your own by bringing pillows to attach to a cooler or design simple cushions for milk crates.

7.   Cleanup Kit

While it would be easy to just pack up and take off once the game is over, you are obligated to make sure your space looks better than when you started. With garbage bins limited, bring your own garbage bags, towels, and wipes. You’ll make tailgating that much easier and fun when you come prepared!

Managing a Busy Schedule (from the Perspective of a College Athlete)

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Entering college, your schedule will be hectic; class, studying, hanging out with friends, greek life, eating, sleeping. That alone can be overwhelming, but when you add in an outrageous practice and game schedule, it can be easy to get in over your head.

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As an ex college cheerleader for a program holding multiple national championship titles, I know all about a busy schedule. Good news for you (after being a college athlete for so many years) I also know all about how to manage such a busy schedule!

1) Take full advantage of any free time that you get- Even if it’s five minutes. Cherish it. Do something productive, or if you’ve had enough productivity, take the time to do something you normally are too busy for, but enjoy.

2) Naps- Don’t you wish you could take back all of the childhood naps you used to refuse? I do. Naps are essential if you are too busy to get a great night’s sleep. Plus if you’re feeling stressed, a nap is a great way to just clear your mind and hit the refresh button on your day. And if you don’t think you have time for naps, it’s all about prioritizing. I love spending time with my friends, but when learning to manage my schedule, I quickly figured out that it was better to go back to my room during my lunch break instead of socializing.

3) Don’t let being tired take you away from a great opportunity- I would have missed out on so many great times if I gave into exhaustion and went home  after practice, instead of going out with friends.

4) Invest in a planner- I cannot stress enough how important a planner is! Being so busy, it’s easy to forget things. I have my planner with me at all times, so if a professor last minute changes the date of a test, you have your planner out and ready to write it down. Even if you have a set practice schedule, write it in for every week, that way you can clearly see when you’re busy and when you’re not. If you’re in the market for a planner you can check out this post on my favorite recommendations!

 5) Do the little things- With so much going on, you may start to question your sanity. There will be those days when you just got out of a mentally and physically exhausting four hour practice and you know that you still have to pull an all nighter to study for the three midterms you have the next day. Pretty overwhelming right? To keep yourself from getting overly stressed, stop to do something for yourself first. Whenever I was in those situations, I would make sure to stop and get my favorite coffee, or I would allow myself one episode of my favorite show on Netflix before diving in to homework and studying. Putting yourself in a better mood before hand will make it so much easier to be more productive.

College can be tough, especially if you are an athlete, but the memories you make along the way make it all worth it. The best part about managing your schedule if you’re an athlete is that you spend so much time at practice, your teammates become your best friends. After a while, going to practice basically becomes multi tasking because you’re getting a workout and spending time with your best friends at the same time.