We all have bucket lists — things we want to do before we “kick the bucket.” I am obsessed with bucket lists, so it is no surprise to anyone that I made one specifically for Ireland. On it were both things built into the program like seeing the Cliffs of Moher and extracurricular things like seeing Bono’s house.
Soon it was our last week here in Ireland and there were still things left to do. The program ended in the middle of November for visa reasons, leaving less time than a normal semester to accomplish the things on my list during the compressed semester.
What complicated the issue further was that this week was finals week. For us, this meant paper-writing, and a lot of it. When sophomore Lexi Odgers totalled it up we had about 40 pages due in the last two weeks. Basically, it was like we were all dragged into NaNoWriMo except none of us were writing novels and all of us were writing about the Potato Famine of 1845–1849.
However, I refused to let finals week stop me from living my dreams. While I was able to tick off many things from my bucket list over the course of the semester, there were still things left in Ireland that I wanted to do.
When I first arrived at the place we were staying, there was a pool table. The only game of pool I played involved an unfortunate run in with the eight ball and the corner pocket on my first turn. When I saw the pool table in Ireland, learning to play went right on my list. But it was not until I needed a study break that I ventured into the pool room and learned. What I learned was that here, where none of us are good, the rules are made up and there is always Justin Timberlake or Ella Fitzgerald in the background. A quick game of pool is a great procrastination tool.
Sometimes, a short game is all you have time for between writing about one of the Irish rebellions and packing your 70 pounds of stuff into your 50 pound bag. But sometimes, it is good to take a more interesting break. That was what I told myself when I packed up my backpack, laced up my hiking boots and grabbed a train with some friends to Dalkey for one last hike.
We went from Dalkey to Killiney, areas known for being home to the rich and famous. We went to enjoy the view but also with a common bucket list goal in mind. As we walked along the sea, explored castle ruins and saw a breathtaking 360 degree view, we also peered into gated mansions placing bets on which one was owned by an elusive member of U2.
These were the fun things that colored my semester and shaped my perception of Ireland. My challenge to anyone on campus in their last month of school is to do the same thing. Take a few breaks and maybe even knock a few things off your Taylor bucket lists.