College is a time when we are often caught up in the moment and feel invincible. We spend countless hours laughing in the caf, in the residence halls, and in the library. It can be hard to really appreciate all of the little things that make our lives special. Our friendships, the opportunities we have to learn and grow academically, and our families are all things that are easy to take for granted in the business of our lives. The thought of life after college, when we graduate and go our separate ways, rarely crosses our minds when we are recapping on Saturday morning or sharing notes Tuesday afternoon.
Yet, sometimes, life interrupts us and reminds us of the world that is occurring beyond the Utica College community. While we are settled into our comfortable routines and enjoying our daily routines, there is a whole world out there that is existing separate from the academic and social activities in our community. Sometimes, seeing a shocking news report or hearing unexpected news from home can jolt us back into reality and remind us that there is life beyond our privileged existence.
In my years here, I have made many friends. One is very special to my heart. She makes me laugh even on my worst days, and really lights up a room when she walks in. She is hardworking and dedicated, and has fulfilled many leadership activities on campus and in the surrounding community. Everyone loves to be in her company, because she makes everyone feel special and reminds us all not to take anything too seriously.
For this reason, it was hard for me to take this friend seriously when she told me last semester that she had an illness. It soon sank in that she was not doing well, and really alerted me to the fact that life does not always go as planned. For the rest of the semester, my friend would be shuffling between doctors appointments instead of going to class. Though she kept her head high, never letting on to others that she was sick, I know this time was difficult for her, and it was tough for me too to see her suffering. After months of appointments, my friend was cleared to resume her education as usual, and since then, she has jumped right back into campus life, with few even knowing the great ordeal she had overcome.
My friend has been nothing but strong, graceful, and determined throughout this whole experience. Yet, even though she carried herself with dignity and never let on how much she was suffering, she was still afraid of the unknown in the future. For this reason, she put emphasis on creating a list of things she wanted to do with her friends in the upcoming year, a sort of bucket list, just in case her health were to worsen. We are blessed that our list is not as time-sensitive now; because of her improved diagnostic standing, we are more comfortable easing through the “bucket list” instead of rushing to get everything done as fast as possible. So, our list is getting steadily checked off, just not with as much haste behind it as we had thought.
But, the future is still unknown. Even though her list was made in a rather extreme situation, it is a list I love and look forward to completing. I would encourage everyone to make a bucket list of their own, whether it be alone, with a friend, or with family. Really think about what things you would like to do in the next month, season, year, or just within your lifetime.
It is the honest truth that you never know what tomorrow may bring, and it is important to make the moments you have now with your loved ones really memorable and special. Create a “bucket list” of your own, and enjoy every minute of the activities and experiences that you include on it. Not only will it make your time at Utica College more special, but it will make your life extraordinary. And in the moments where we get caught up in our schedules and meetings and appointments here and forget about the bigger picture, your bucket list will be sure to remind you to live fully in the moment and to never take for granted the time you have here before graduation.