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The idea of an anti-bucket list was a midnight thought of mine. You know those thoughts you have late at night trying to distract yourself from the fact you can’t fall asleep? I was thinking about how drastically different my life is since high school. I had learned so many different things that allowed me to broaden my perspective on life and helped me realize the toxic habits I exhibited. I promised myself to break those habits and never fall into those traps again. Below are five habits that I refuse to do again and my hope is that this helps you reflect on your own anti-bucket lists. 

1. Let Grades Define MeEasier said than done, right? Like most students that attend the University of Michigan, I always strived to receive all A’s throughout my academic career. I was constantly in a state of stress and anxiety over my test scores. From the ACT to APs, to exams, I always treated each test as a life-or-death situation. In my head, failing a test set off a chain reaction of not getting into college to not receiving a job offer. However, throughout this year, I began to reach the realization that grades are not everything. While it’s important to try and give it your best shot, at the end of the day it’s important to know you did your best. You laid it all on the line, and beating yourself up doesn’t change anything. While receiving a bad grade hurts knowing you felt it wasn’t a representation of yourself, it’s vital to remember you are not defined by a number.


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Kyle Glenn

 

2. Not Know My Worth: When I first stepped on Michigan’s campus in August, I was overwhelmed with a whirl of emotions. Not because of how vast the campus is or even my classes but because of the people. Every individual at Michigan truly embodies the qualities of a leader and the best. It was intimidating for me to come to a school where I was mediocre regarding academics compared to my peers. For a while during my first year, I let that feeling overwhelm me. I had felt with all my heart that I didn’t belong here, it was clearly a mistake that I got accepted. I felt utterly lost and defeated. But after a long conversation with my sister, I realized how toxic that mindset is. That mindset, to routinely put myself lower than my peers, was detrimental and served no purpose other than making me feel inferior. The reality was that I wasn’t any lower than my peers. Of course, this is a hard lesson for a lot of people to understand. I have witnessed countless of my peers and friends exhibit this same mindset. However, it’s crucial to abolish this mindset and realize you are as good as everyone else. You deserve what you have achieved in life and just because you don’t excel at a certain subject doesn’t mean you are any less. I’m not gonna lie; I’m still figuring out how to master this, but I strongly believe the first step is the self-realization that you are valid and enough.


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Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels

 

3. Not Say What I Want: I have always been a timid person that felt my needs were not as important as others. Maybe it’s the stereotypes that exist for women in society that make me feel this way, but using my voice has always presented a challenge. However, it’s important to break out of these molds and realize your opinions and your voice matter. If you want that last piece of pizza or want to see that rom-com movie over that action movie, speak up! As much as we want others to be able to read our minds, it’s not possible, and trust me, life is much more enjoyable in the front seat than in the backseat.


Gif of man holding heart shaped pizza
Giphy

 

4. Base my Decisions off of Others: Our society values conformity; we like people to act a certain way and dress a certain way. This detrimental value within our society only prevents us from developing further. As cheesy as it seems, our uniqueness brings balance to the world. We all have a vast range of interests where we can learn from each other. It’s important to embrace who you are and if it’s different than the norm that’s okay. Life is way too unpredictable and short to be anything that doesn’t truly represent who you are.


woman wearing red high heels with white socks that say girls rule
Pexels / CoWomen

5. Be Afraid Of Failure: This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we can experience, and it has a tendency to take over. The crude truth is that failure is inevitable in life. Whether we plan to or not, we will always fall short on something. Maybe our exam grade was disappointing, we said something we didn’t mean, or messed up on a presentation. Life is a fickle thing and it always has a few tricks up its sleeve. Getting comfort with failure is one of the most crucial lessons we can learn. It’s important to realize that failure is a form of success and it’s necessary to fail in life. Failures can not only humble us but motivate us to come back even stronger. 

 

Jessy Wu

U Mich '23

Jessy is a freshman from Michigan hoping to go into marketing and sustainable fashion. Her interests include traveling, hanging with her friends, and trying new restaurants in Ann Arbor!
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