If there’s anything I learned from Thanksgiving break, it’s that everyone should make the best of their time at Boston College. Over the break, I drove the five and a half hours home, helped my family with their paperwork, cooked a bunch of food, and spent the entire break working to make everyone’s holiday better with no concern for my own experience. There was bickering, there was yelling, there were some tears, and there was a lot of alcohol. I don’t think I slept the whole time. After day three, in the midst of sleep-deprived hallucinations, I had a bleak vision of the future, a future where I spend my time off working from home, managing my family, and stealing precious seconds to catch my breath—it’s a future that I’m not really ready to accept. I was horrified.
I cried as I packed my things into the car. I sat behind the steering wheel for an extra 10 minutes before finally leaving, just trying to calm myself down for the long drive home. I say this not to make myself a monument to justice and self-sacrifice, instead I say this to make an important point: Many of us likely had a similar Thanksgiving experience, one that left us wondering for what we had to be thankful. For me, I am most thankful for drive back to Boston. It was then that I realized I needed a change, I needed to figure out what I wanted out of my life. I needed a bucket list.
As I’m sure is the case for many students, going home and needing to ask permission for things you would normally do without a second thought or needing to bend schedules to accommodate everyone who has ever made an appearance at a family wedding is a daunting, anxious experience.
The independence we have found in our time away from home is hard-won and sorely lost as each holiday rolls around, like the twisted hand of fate prepared to snatch your time, your good spirits, and your capacity for love away. Yet, upon our return to academic solace, all we have time to think about is our next exam, final papers, and that quiz we completely forgot about. We spend an inordinate amount of time looking forward to a break that leaves us wanting to claw our way back to the classroom, only to have our spirit crushed between the scholastic cogs of time management and increased pressure. Add on the stress of trying to raise your GPA with a Hail Mary extra credit paper, and you’ve got the classic fall semester experience.
It doesn’t need to be that way. Sure, we’ve all seen the meme: “Good grades, social life, or sleep. Pick two.” But that doesn’t mean we need to pick the same two all the time. We can still find balance somewhere in the mix. As a senior staring down the barrel of my last year before I have to be a “real” adult, with a “real” job and “real” responsibilities, I have realized that I’ve spent my time in college taking care of other people, studying, and working. I realized that that was my fault, and that if I want to get something out of my BC experience, I need to make that happen myself.
Because of this, I encourage you to make yourself a “BC Bucket List.” Ask yourself, what are the top 10 things, top 20 things, even top 50 things you want to do before you leave BC? Make a point of doing those things. Don’t hesitate, because college might well be the last opportunity you have for those experiences. I can say with some certainty that I’ll likely never write for another newspaper—I’m not studying journalism, I don’t know why a newspaper would ever hire me—and yet, it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. I’m crossing it off my bucket list right now. If I didn’t try it and had just chickened out or told myself that I didn’t have enough time and should be working, I’d be wasting my time here. Sure, I could have dedicated that time to studying more or watching Netflix, but if college is about broadening your horizons, trying new things, and exploring who you are, then my time trying out a new skill is 10 times more valuable than my time on the couch or in the library.
It is with this call to action that I leave you, reader. I am going to spend next semester crossing more things off of my own bucket list, and hoping that you’ve started work on yours. Thank you so much for helping me make this year valuable. Thank you for bothering to read what I’ve written, and thank you for being one of the many vital participants that make everything I love about BC possible. Thank you a million times. Goodbye and good luck.
Featured Graphic by Ally Mozeliak / Graphics Editor