The Bucket List


With university coming to an end and the horrendously sudden realisation that it’s time to grow up and actually start acting like an adult, I find myself daunted by all the things I want, but have never had the time or opportunity, to do. Having been financially crippled by the last three years, I am now looking forward to having the monetary capability, as well as the time, to fulfill some of those lifelong ambitions.

When I first sat down to write what has only ever previously been a romantic unspoken notion, I found that writing my bucket list was harder than I had anticipated. How extravagant does an ambition have to be to make it onto the bucket list? How achievable do the activities have to be? I settled on 30 things that I can, and will, accomplish by the time I kick it. Some are more outrageous than others, and obviously some are going to take far longer than others to achieve. But looking forward into unknown territory, I find myself comforted by the notion that I can, and will, always be working towards an end. It may not be career driven, romantically charged, but it’s enough to keep me in a perpetual state of progression.

Whilst I appreciate that many say that university is the time of your life, I resent the idea that everything is downhill from here; I am far too young to believe that is true, and far to naïve to think that there aren’t more adventures to be had. So as I sit here, contemplating the huge empty hole I have to fill with career expectations and a stable living environment, I realise that it’s just as important to keep learning. Unearth new things about yourself, your friends, acquire new skills and make new memories. For, it’s these things that we will inevitably look back on with the fondest of hearts, and these achievements that will ultimately define us as a person.

And what’s more, when were feeling low or unfulfilled, this list should act as a catalyst to make you strive for all the greatness you are yet to witness in yourself, and will remind you of all the possibilities open to you if you are willing to seize the opportunities. This personalised list of objectives will become your mission, should you choose to accept it, and has the power to bring about some amazing results.

So, if you have an hour to spare, I encourage you all to collate a bucket list of all the things you aim to achieve in life. These goals can change, can increase, can even snowball into bigger dreams but for now just look deep into your heart and your imagination and see what you most desire.

The next time you find yourself swamped at work, and feeling like you are constantly working just to keep afloat, drowning in the mundanity of everyday life, you can look at that list and know that you still have a lot to be excited about. You may even feel motivated to try and tick one off. Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said that ‘Life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better’. At this point then, I find myself wanting to make the most of life; for what point is there in it, if it’s not to be enjoyed.  

My Top 10

  1. See a Wonder of the Natural World
  2. Travel America
  3. Learn to play the guitar
  4. Cycle from the Andes to the Amazon
  5. Meet a REAL celebrity hero
  6. Complete a triathalon
  7. Read my way through Waterstones top 100
  8. Learn German
  9. Get published
  10. Travel in a hot air balloon

Experience over Education

Having just finished my first year of your University, it struck me that I have just 2 years left of avoiding the inevitable 40 hour working week which awaits me when I join the real world. This prospect is both welcome and horrifying simultaneously. Whilst I cannot wait to pursue all these dreams and ambitions I possess, the realisation of the difficulty of achieving these aspirations weighs heavily upon my shoulders. I am living in a world where a great education from a prestigious university and an abundance of enthusiasm just isn’t enough.

Gone are the days where you could walk out of university and into a high profile corporation. Plain love for what you do seems to count for nought. Now, to even get your foot in the door you need to have a wealth of experience in whatever field you choose to pursue. You need to have relevant experience for any job you now apply for, despite having been in education for the first 21 years of your life. Realistically how much experience can one person have in their chosen career by 21? Surely the entire point of undertaking an undergraduate degree programme is to progress towards your career goals? When did a degree become a mere credential rather than a track to success?

I love studying and am thoroughly enjoying my time at university, yet my experience seems tinted by this sinking feeling that it will all lead to nothing. Soon I shall just join the other 50,000+ graduates that struggle to find employment every year. One Times shows that 22% of graduates are stuck in non-graduate jobs for up to 5 years after university. The realisation being then, that thousands of people are racking up £30,000 debt just to find the same job they could have prior to university. Remind me again why the numbers of applicants to university is rising every year? Maybe an old school attempt at working your way up through a corporation shouldn’t be so swiftly written off.

Today it seems that a degree will only progress you towards a career as an academic, all those other jobs you have dreamed of since you were 10 have one hundred other hoops to jump through, lions to tame and mazes to negotiate before you can even attempt to convince the big boss that your worthy of their time.

Now don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate that employers would prefer there potential new employees to have some experience, but what is an acceptable level of experience to expect? Having spent the last month trying to secure work experience, I am well aware of just how difficult it is to get even unpaid work in some industries. And here we arrive at the junction where you cannot get any interview without experience, yet will continue to lack experience until someone takes pity on you and, lack of experience aside, gives you a shot.

So I stare down the barrel to a life of being work bound, paying a mortgage, and being unable to avoid taxes, I realise that I have a mountain to climb if I am actually going to end up in a job I will love. Does that put me off though? Not just yet.