My Senior Year Bucket List That (Probably) Won’t Be Accomplished

Look, I don’t mean to be a debbie downer but the fact that my senior year isn’t going as planned shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. In fact, I think most college seniors feel the same. Now that I had most of my graduation requirements out of the way, my senior year was going to be the year that I truly enjoyed everything that Tokyo has to offer. But plans change—and that can be disappointing, but we need to remind ourselves that it’s not the end of the world. 

To mourn the loss of my senior year that should have been, here are the items on my “Before Graduation Bucket List” that I wrote back in February of 2020. 

  1. 1. Really experience Tokyo

    Knowing that I needed a really good GPA to apply for law schools meant that I spent much of my freshman through junior years of college focusing on my studies and extra-curriculars. Now that I’m quarantined outside of Japan for the foreseeable future, I really wish I had enjoyed my time in Tokyo sooner rather than later. I guess I’ll have to wait a few more years to view the expansive Tokyo cityscape from Shibuya Sky or to eat Michelin-Star ramen. 

  2. 2. Travel in Japan

    Japanese bullet train ticket on a window sill

    I thought that moving to Japan for college would give me plenty of time to see the country, but alas, I was proven wrong. Of course, there are study abroad students at ICU who make the most out of their year in Japan by going on trips during every possible break and three day weekend, but somehow, in my three previous years of college I had only managed to take a short trip to Kansai. My domestic travel bucket list for senior year had included places like Kanazawa and Hokkaido. Hopefully I’ll be able to make the time to visit someday in the future!

  3. 3. Do all the ICU things

    I guess the running theme of this article is that your college years are shorter than you might think—especially when a global pandemic cuts it down by a year. Not to get sappy, but I was really looking forward to doing things that were specific to ICU in my final year. Aside from the everyday joys of hanging out with friends at Bakayama or grabbing lunch at Guutara, I wanted to make the most of the big school events. When this year's ICU Festival was cancelled, I was gutted. I was also excited about going to the Christmas Candlelight Service at the campus chapel. It’s missing out on these school-specific events that feel like the true loss of my senior year. ​

  4. 4. Sakura photoshoot

    This one is a little bit cheesy, but cherry blossoms are a huge staple of ICU’s campus. It would have been cute and memorable to do a sakura photoshoot with friends before I graduate. I remember feeling a little bit overwhelmed by the beauty of the blossoms during my first sakura season at ICU, and to be able to capture it one last time in my senior year would have been super special. 

  5. 5. Say goodbye to my part-time job

    I adored my part-time job at a local izakaya, or Japanese pub. One of the things I was looking forward to most about my senior year was my final shift at work. It brought me so much joy whenever my friends would visit me at work and chat with me while they ate their meals. I know that having lots of people come see me at work can be kind of chaotic, but to have my friends come to support me and my love for my job one last time have been worth all the dishwashing I would have to do afterward. 

There are certainly worse things happening in the world than a college senior missing out on a couple of bucket list items, but this is a loss that I’m mourning nonetheless. Maybe I’ll be able to accomplish some of these goals once COVID-19 ends, but for now, I’ll do what I can to enjoy my senior year remotely.

For those who still have a couple of years of college left—live in the moment! You never know when a world wide pandemic might derail your plans.