This past summer, I remember feeling both apprehensive and excited for my senior year. On one hand, I was excited and happy to graduate and hit a milestone in my life. On the other hand, I regretted not involving myself enough on campus during my freshman and sophomore year, and I felt a need to try to make up for the lack of time I had left when senior year began to approach. Before senior year, I didn’t join a lot of clubs due to conflicts of scheduling and because graduation seemed so far away. However, I was wrong, as time seemed to move quickly as I advanced from a sophomore to a junior. Due to the COVID-19, I spent my junior year at home, so I really began to feel the pressure of trying to change the world. Being at home let me try out hobbies that interested me, such as sewing, and it also reminded me of activities that I really enjoyed doing when I was on campus, such as working out. So, by the time the summer before my senior year came around, I had a pretty rough list of things and activities I wanted to try once I got back to classes.

I had the idea to create a bucket list for my senior year, in order to have experiences that I thought would be interesting. I had the list on my phone, where I could easily access and edit it. I planned to take advantage of Binghamton University’s campus, from the Nature Preserve to the endless amount of clubs. My bucket list was useful during my senior year, as it allowed me to quickly remind myself of my goals instead of just relying on my memory.

Outlining some of your college goals in a senior bucket list can improve your performance. According to research, setting goals that are specific and challenging leads to higher performance in reaching those goals 90 percent of the time. In this case, a senior bucket list is specific in that it is related to both a specific year or location, and it can be challenging because it requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone. In order to actually stick to my bucket list, I would break it down into more achievable steps, like I would an outline for an essay, so I would not feel overwhelmed. Breaking it down in steps also helped to motivate me along the way, as I was proud of myself for actively trying to accomplish my goals. This helped reinforce and expand my use of outlining to achieve any goal in my life. While outlining may not work for everyone, a bucket list helps to highlight how effective you are at achieving your goals and what needs to be changed.

The next big benefit of a senior bucket list is an increase in confidence and adaptability. Humans are creatures of habit, and while I do see myself as pretty adaptable, sometimes I get nervous when things unexpectedly change. A bucket list is structured, requiring you to cross off experiences, so I did not get anxious trying new things. The point was not whether or not I was good at it, but to try a new experience. If I did not like it, it did not feel monumental. This framing of my thought process helped me become more confident when doing things outside of my comfort zone, and helped me adapt to it better because I did not set any expectations around those experiences. It felt like a trial or sample in which I lost nothing if it did not work out.

Kadijah Kaba is a senior majoring in political science and is an opinions columnist.