One of my favorite things about Dartmouth was that I woke up every day thinking that anything could happen before I went to bed that night. To some extent, that’s still true. You never know what random interaction is going to lead to a lifelong friendship or what split-second decision is going to lead to the discovery of a new passion. That said, for the past couple terms, I egregiously overscheduled myself (it’ll happen to you) and my days got a lot more structured. Not that structure is inherently bad, but I lost the excitement that came with every morning. Now that I have some more free time, I’ve been trying to recapture that excitement. It’s been harder than expected though. People look at you funny when you’re a senior and you ask them “So, what do people do for fun around here?” Now that I’ve found a place or an identity or whatever, I feel a bit more constrained when I figure out what I’m going to do on a given day.
Which is why we have bucket lists! Ideas on how to break out of my comfort zone in a convenient list format! You’ll probably get one freshman year with typical stuff like ‘run around the bonfire’ or ‘have a snowball fight.’ I’ve done 75 or so of the 101, and since it’s an old list, a lot of the rest aren’t really feasible (RIP Lone Pine Tavern). However, there are still a few that I haven’t done yet, which kind of surprised me. I’ve never gotten tea in Sanborn, I’ve never gone to open hours at the observatory, I’ve never climbed the Gile Mountain fire tower, and the list goes on. There might be reasons I haven’t done these yet, (namely that I don’t like tea, I think stargazing is kinda boring, and I’m terrified of heights) but breaking out of my comfort zone might be the point of the list.
Besides, I don’t think that just halfheartedly checking things off the list is really the point. Remember that movie ‘The Bucket List’ where Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson do all that cool stuff before they die?
They enjoyed all the stuff on the bucket lists that they did, but the real point was all the relationships they formed and mended as they were trying to finish their lists were what mattered. I think that’s why I want to finish my bucket list before the term ends, not entirely because I really want to do stuff that some admissions employee thought constituted the ‘Dartmouth experience’ but because maybe those things will lead me toward my own Dartmouth experience somewhere along the way.
Lastly, I’M SO HAPPY THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ THIS. THOUGH IT DOES ADD A BIT OF EXTRA PRESSURE WHEN I’M TRYING TO WRITE. Anyway, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, concerns, Sporcle challenges, or if you want to meet up at Dimensions (5 days away ahhhh!)