The Dartmouth Bucket List
By Lauren Vespoli, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, September 14, 2012
It was a confluence of personal and cultural factors that eventually brought the idea for this column. Let’s go back to last fall. Rapper and redeeming Canadian Drake releases the hit, “The Motto.” “YOLO,” the acronym for “you only live once,” the motto referred to by the song’s title, becomes common in youthful parlance and a widespread excuse for misguided behavior.
Junior winter and spring, I become one of those jaded upperclasswomen who can’t be bothered to go out on certain weekend nights, claiming to have “work” but instead watching movies such as Disney’s “Prom” on Netflix, which may or may not have made me cry.
Over the summer, I work at a camp in Wyoming, a place that I have loved dearly since the age of 14 but unfortunately will never return to for a full summer. Freed from the confines of my wearied attitude toward Dartmouth and influenced by the ubiquity of the YOLO lifestyle among the young, teenage campers, I push myself to take some risks that I may never again have the chance to take. I learn to shoot a .22, night swim in 40 degree water and go on a pack trip that involves riding a horse for 20 miles on the last day. This August, I return home, lead a freshman trip and for the first time realize that I’m a senior. In our small groups at the Lodge, my peers advise freshmen on “must-dos” — which are things that I’ve never done — and tell them to take classes I still haven’t taken. I friend my trippees on Facebook and see that they were born in 1994. Now it’s Fall term of senior year. Shit.
Whether it is something you consciously make an effort to achieve, everyone’s got that list: the list of all the things you wants to do before it’s too late and you’ve got that diploma in your hand. Most people don’t write these lists down, but there is something irrevocable about writing down the experiences we want to have. It makes their fulfillment seem more crucial.
This column grew from the idea that all of us have these lists, written or mental, and from the fact that it is now my last year to check things off. Three more terms, ’13s — that’s all we’ve got. I figured that writing this column about my bucket list will force me to actually finish what’s on my bucket list and to get suggestions of the un-missable from people all over campus. Thus, over the next three terms, this column will detail this writer’s attempts to complete items on her own bucket list. Each week, I will embark on a new adventure and detail my exploits in The Mirror. It’s kind of like “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” except that it’s probably more like “The Bucket List.” Except that our parents keep telling us not to equate graduation with the end of our lives, but whatever.
So, I’d like to dedicate this column to Kate Hudson, Morgan Freeman, the Lone Pine and my parents, because I hope you’re right about graduation. On the last night at my camp, there’s a tradition that the campers and a few unfortunate counselors stay up until they have to leave in the morning. It’s supposed to allow you to make the most of your final hours there with each other. It always starts out really fun and exciting, but at 3 or 4 a.m. things get weird, and then the sun rises and everyone’s sobbing and hugging their friends goodbye.
And then you get in the van to go to the airport, and it’s all over. I feel like this year might be similar to a longer version of the last night.
So let’s make the most of it.
If you have any ideas for the bucket list, please blitz Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org.