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The Simple Power of the Bucket List

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

I’m a firm believer in the importance of making lists. Every single day my productivity depends on explicitly writing down goals for myself, whether it be doing laundry, finishing homework, going for a run, or remembering to turn in scholarship applications.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters from Unsplash

While those are the not-so-fun lists, it’s nice to make ones that are bit more creative and fulfilling. I love crafting my list of resolutions each New Year’s Day, although resolutions usually consist of bad habits to break or new ones to form. That’s why I’ve also always been fascinated by the less-demanding idea of bucket lists.

Bucket lists are usually tied to crazy things a person wants to do before they die (hence the name), such as my own informal list of sky diving, meeting Harry Styles, and being an extra in a legit Hollywood movie. However, it can also be really great to make simple goals for a shorter period of time. It could consist of nice activities to do during the next week, month, or a longer period of time. 

Last summer, to process the dull monotony of the first months of the pandemic after I was unceremoniously sent home from college, my sister and I made our Quarantine Bucket List of things we wanted to do that summer within the confines of Covid precautions.

Our list included planting a garden, recreating our Grandma’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies, watercolor painting, canoeing, and going for a hike, among many other things.

We did the same over Christmas break this past year, with activities such as building elaborate gingerbread houses, decorating sugar cookies, and making paper snowflakes.

For both of these lists we took a plain sheet of printer paper, brainstormed together, and wrote down all the activities we wanted to do and decorated it with glitter pens and colorful markers (you’re never too old for glitter), so it was an arts and crafts activity of its own.

New Girl Nick Miller Sparkles GIF
Giphy / Fox
 And as simple as it might sound, it was so satisfying to always have inspiration for something fun to do, then to come home and cross each thing off our bucket list one by one. Especially since the pandemic has often left us feeling bored and restless, it gave us that sense of direction and fulfillment that we needed, even in small ways.

The great thing with these lists is that you can do your own, or make one with your best friends, your family, your SO, your coworkers, or whoever! Even with your dogs, although they might not give you much input.

And don’t feel overwhelmed by the expectation that these things be crazy new adventures. It doesn’t have to be climbing Mount Everest or backpacking across Europe. It can be as simple as trying out a new restaurant, meeting up with an old friend for coffee, or playing pickleball for the first time.

The Lala

Right now, I’ve been brainstorming for my Summer 2021 Bucket List. While it’s still a work in progress, I’ve already set my own goals to roller-skate with friends, make homemade pasta, go to the waterpark, eat lots of snow cones, and go camping with friends.  

I also have my KU Bucket List, also a work in progress, of all the things I want to do before I graduate. 

A lot of times, especially in college, there’s so much pressure over the big-picture stuff, like landing an internship, maintaining your GPA, or filling up your resumé with extracurriculars.

Just don’t forget to make time for the little things, like the good times with friends and family that make life worth living. And lists can certainly help you do just that.


Senior at the University of Kansas studying English and journalism & editor of Her Campus KU. You can find me hiding in the Watson Library study carrels or wandering around HomeGoods avoiding all responsibilities.