Ever since I was young, I had a tendency to make lists. Lots of lists. Lists about what I wanted to do, what I had to do, what I wanted to write.
I haven’t exactly stopped making lists since then, but my lists have certainly started changing.
A few weeks before my birthday last month, I found a list titled “Things to Do Before I Turn 20.” There were tons of things on my list, from visiting San Diego and Japan (which I didn’t do) to publishing a book and making a movie (which I did do). The list had almost 30 things, and by the time I reached age 20, I had only done about half.
So, as I thought about it, I figured out that there are a lot of things that I want to do before I turn 25. I think there are things all college students should do before they turn 25 – or before they graduate, but that’s a totally different story.
- Travel. I love to travel, especially by train and bus. I’ve been lucky enough to go to one of the places on my before-25 list – New York City – but I have two other cities I feel like I MUST visit before age 25: Chicago and Washington, D.C. This will probably vary by geographic location for other young people – those are simply not practical for someone living in Nevada – but for someone living in Ohio, they’re rather reasonable. I also want to get a passport and visit another country, even if it’s just Canada, before I turn 25.
- Make at least one friend from across the country. In the age of the Internet, this is much easier to do, and I in fact have made two friends who live far away – one on the West Coast and the other on the East Coast. I adore them, and I call one (whom I regularly Skype and chat with) my big sister because we’re very close. This is totally doable, and I think everyone under 25 should make an active attempt to do so.
- Make at least one friend from another country. Since I go to a big public university, this isn’t that hard, either – we have a very large international student population. I managed this one when I was working as a tutor at the Writing Center: one girl who was Korean came in once or twice a week during summer sessions and always asked for me, and at her last appointment she drew me this incredibly cute picture! I was very touched and I still have the drawing.
- Write a book, be in a movie, or be involved in something else very creative. I’ve actually done this multiple times already – I own a company called Glass Tower Press and have published one title, a novel. I’ve also written a TV series for UT’s student broadcasting group – you can see me in at least three different scenes in Episode One because we needed extras – and I’ve taken art classes, attended theater productions, and much more. Everyone is creative in their own way, and being in college gives you the freedom to pursue some of those creative things. Even if you’re not artistic, take a pottery class or learn to play an instrument. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
- On the topic of unforgettable experiences: try something new and a little weird. When I started my first fall semester of college, I went to an anime convention for the first time. It was a very strange, somewhat frightening experience – it was Halloween weekend and I had a slightly traumatizing experience involving watching five episodes of a horror anime series – but I fell in love, and now I regularly go to area conventions and even have an artist table with one of my friends. I never would have done that if I hadn’t decided to try something new and strange!
This is just a sampling of the things I want to do before I turn 25. Even though I’ve done most (all) of them, I want to try doing each one at least once more before I’m 25. If I go to graduate school, I’ll probably be able to do all of them more than once!
What are some things you want to try to do before you turn 25? If you’re 25 or older, what experiences did you have or wish you’d had?