Keene State College seniors aren’t waiting until graduation to start checking off items on their bucket lists.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a bucket list is defined as “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.”
Although everyone’s bucket list is different, students say they are working on checking off items on their lists while their lists continue to grow.
1. Complete a KSC bucket list
Alexandra Norman, a KSC senior, said she and her five roommates decided to make a bucket list to make the most out of their last year at KSC.
The list includes about thirty items and they have checked off almost half.
“We have checked off a bunch so far,” Norman said.
Norman said some of the things they’ve done include going to all the bars in town, carving a pumpkin for Pumpkin Fest, making their own Halloween costumes, tie dying, going to a KSC sporting event, going to the Otter Brook Dam, apple picking at Alyson’s Orchard, trying all the fry sauces at Fritz, taking a class they knew nothing about, going to a show or movie at the Colonial Theatre and getting a pet.
“I would recommend this idea to others because it’s helped us set a goal to do fun activities and spend time together,” Norman said.
2. Donate bone marrow
KSC senior Ryan Cathcart said although he is not a huge fan of needles, he donated bone marrow last month, which was on his bucket list.
Cathcart said he originally registered for bone marrow registry because his friend’s aunt had leukemia.
Leukemia is a cancer that starts in the tissue that forms blood. One form of treatment is a bone marrow transplant, according to mayoclinic.org.
Since a patient in need of a bone marrow transplant needs to match the donor’s tissue type, the chance of being asked to donate are about one in five hundred, according to bethematch.org.
Two months ago Cathcart got a phone call saying that someone with leukemia had a match for his tissue and was asked to donate.
“I never hesitated,” Cathcart said, “I couldn’t imagine saying no.”
“I can’t imagine being told that I have the potential opportunity to save a life and turning it down because of my own personal discomfort,” Cathcart said.
A week after the phone call Cathcart said he was asked to give blood samples and undergo a medical exam.
The next week he went to Boston for more blood work and a full medical history interview.
The procedure took place about a month after the initial phone call.
He said he was put under for the surgery that tapped into his hip to the right and left of his lower spinal cord to get a quart of bone marrow.
After the surgery, Cathcart said couldn’t walk for close to a week, but the benefits outweighed everything.
“I got to participate in something so much larger than myself,” Cathcart said.
Cathcart continued, “It was an incredible opportunity and I’m lucky to be given the chance to have a positive effect on someone’s life.”
3. Go on a mission trip
Linnea Henry, a KSC senior and nursing major, said she wanted to go on mission trip to venture out of her comfort zone.
Henry said she wanted to give herself the chance to have an experience that would allow her to help others while finding perspective on other cultures and lifestyles in a different part of the world.
“I wanted to be engaged in a different community and not from a resort/vacation perspective,” Henry said.
Henry said when she was a junior in high school a church in her town was going to help out at a Mustard Seed Community, a non-profit that seeks to help children and young adults who were abandoned or with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS and teen mothers, along with their babies, in Jamaica.
“The trip itself was a major eye-opener. Not only was I able to experience the Jamaican culture, since we lived in the gated Mustard Seed Community,” Henry said, “but I was able to help take care of these vulnerable children with diseases such as epilepsy, down syndrome, myotonic dystrophy and cerebral palsy.”
While there, she said she also helped with labor work such as painting, building trenches and helping with meals and dishes.
Henry said something she liked best about this trip was being disconnected from the web.
Since she and the other missionaries didn’t have their phones, Henry said they were able to bond by creating games and conversing with each other without any technology.
“This trip influenced me to pursue a nursing career and gave me insight on so many things that I had once taken advantage of, even something as simple as my health,” Henry said.
Henry said her bucket list now consists of being a traveling nurse to underdeveloped countries.
“This mission trip was definitely the best thing to have happened to me, and the main influence on my decision to become a nurse,” Henry said.
4. Backpack through Europe
KSC Senior Kelly Decerbo is currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy.
While Decerbo said she didn’t necessarily have a bucket list before she went abroad this semester, she considers her travels overseas just an opportunity to make one and quickly cross items off.
“I’ve tried to take advantage of almost everything this place has given me,” Decerbo said.
She said during her three months abroad she has been to 20 cities in ten countries so far.
Some of which include Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Paris, Munich, London, York, Rome and Barcelona.
Decerbo said she has traveled via bus, train, car, plane and occasionally — and as she explained, “unfortunately” — on foot or donkey.
“I don’t really recommend donkey travel,” Decerbo said.
Learning lessons and facing obstacles along the way, Decerbo said, “No travel experience has come without complications, which have shaped my ability to accept and embrace anything that comes my way.”
Although, Decerbo explained, despite the complications, she said there is nothing she would change about her traveling experiences.
Decerbo said that traveling Europe is just a part of her newfound bucket list item, which includes traveling and exploring as much of the world as possible for her.
“Now it’s clear that this list is a constant work in progress that I add to daily as new opportunities and ventures propose themselves to me,” Decerbo said.
Decerbo continued, “Traveling isn’t for everyone, but to find out that it’s for you is, in my opinion, a most rewarding realization.”
5. Learn a second language
Augustus Stahl, a KSC senior, said he went to France in first grade with his family and after that his mother started slipping French into his everyday conversation.
Stahl said he knew he wanted to learn French to keep the memory of his mom after she passed away.
Stahl said he started taking French classes in seventh grade.
“Honestly, I was really horrible at it for years,” Stahl explained.
Then, in the summer after tenth grade, Stahl said he went to Church Point, Nova Scotia, to Université du Sainte Anne, a French university, for five weeks.
“It was an immersion program, so it was almost exclusively in French. We all signed waivers in the beginning saying that we’d adhere to the French-only provisions and if not we’d be asked to leave,” Stahl said.
Stahl said he had a really hard time at the beginning of the program because he wasn’t good at French when he got there.
“But by the second or third week it was so natural that it felt weird to switch to English to call home,” Stahl said.
Stahl said now he is almost fluent in French. He said he loves being able to express himself in another way besides English.
“It’s an interesting experience when you’re talking and when you grasp for the name of an object or a verb and it comes out in French instead of English,” Stahl said.
Stahl said he would recommend learning a second language to anyone, because it opens up a lot of doors for travel, conversation, thoughts and job opportunities.
6. Go on a road trip with your best friend
KSC Senior Ivette Garcia went on a road trip to Florida with her best friend, which took them 18 hours.
During the road trip, Garcia said they stopped at each state to take a picture.
She said it was a good experience because she hadn’t been to many states before that and got to see a lot of new places.
To pass the time Garcia said they played license plate games, listened to music and talked about things they never really got the chance to talk about before.
Garcia said they made pit stops at South of the Border in South Carolina, a roadside attraction on Interstate 95 and Washington D.C.
“We stopped in D.C. for the day. It was really cool to be in the nation’s capital unexpectedly with my best friend, just exploring,” Garcia said.
“You never know what’s going to happen with no itinerary and it gives you memories you’re going to remember,” Garcia said.
7. Meet Dave Matthews
KSC senior Brendan Snyder said he had always wanted to meet Dave Matthews, lead singer of Dave Matthews Band, because he’s always enjoyed his music and his view and outlook on life.
Synder said he lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, where Matthews play a lot of shows.
“I met him walking through the park in my hometown before his concert,” Snyder said.
He said Matthews was “riding his bike around and rode by me. I stopped him by saying his name and he stopped to talk.”
Snyder said they talked about how much Matthews loves playing in Saratoga Springs and how the parks and natural setting that still exists is something we all should respect.
Snyder said they also talked about the fact that Matthews shares a vineyard in Virginia he owns with the public because he wants everyone to “enjoy what he’s blessed to have.”
Snyder said he thought it was an incredible experience to meet a major figure he looks up to and have him live up to the expectation he had of him of being as down to Earth and giving.
“I think that bucket lists are a great way to keep on track of dreams and achieve things you’ve told yourself you will always do,” Snyder said.
“It’s always fun to dream and this can help organize those dreams to help make them happen,” Snyder said.
Taylor Thomas can be contacted at email@example.com.