Doug Cohen: A GW Bucket List: Making my last year count

Is it possible to make time stand still? Maybe if I stare at my watch with enough intensity I can slow the inevitable ticking of its hands?

With the conclusion of my junior year quickly approaching, I only wish I had this power.

In one moment you are a freshman who has a seemingly endless collegiate journey ahead of you. But then, all of a sudden, you are about to be a senior who is scrambling to make sense of the little time you have left.

It has become more and more apparent that I need to set a list of goals to accomplish before I graduate. I have looked back on my college career and have identified the mistakes I made in my first three years.

My “GW bucket list” might not completely remedy my past errors or oversights, but it will allow me to make the most of my final year.

Looking back, I realize I was too quick to dismiss the thought of traveling abroad during the school year or summer. I did this because, frankly, I was comfortable on campus and did not want to even begin thinking about leaving. While the lessons I have learned from school and work throughout the past three years are priceless, I have no doubt that I need to supplement these with experiences that force me to expand the scope of my worldview.

So, at some point in this next year, I hope to leave my family and friends behind for a few days or weeks, perhaps by signing up for an Alternative Breaks trip, or by summoning my inner Jack Kerouac and driving until I reach some unrecognizable place. Grandma, this is nothing personal – I promise that I will return.

This semester, I battled with difficult ideas and concepts in my philosophy course that often required longs hours of poring over the assigned reading. But when I sat down to write a midterm paper for it, I didn’t resent the course. In fact, I wished I had taken more courses like it. The feeling of wrestling with dense and difficult texts provided me with a rewarding sense of accomplishment, and I began to regret all of the times I picked courses purely based on their Rate My Professor low difficulty rankings.

That’s why next semester, I’m going to pick some courses that might actually hurt my GPA.

While doing poorly on a tough paper about John Locke might be a sobering experience, being able to walk into office hours and ask an expert on the subject how to improve is a gratifying experience.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that D.C. has much more to offer in terms of employment than just K Street and Capitol Hill. So my final goal is to work somewhere that doesn’t have “LLC,” or “institute,” in its title.

The beauty of college is that it is a sort of real world laboratory, a time for exploration and adventure that is not really afforded at any other point in one’s life.

Hopefully I will be able to use the waning time in college to create meaningful experiments.

Doug Cohen, a junior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet contributing opinions editor.

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