The Daily Northwestern

Checking items off your bucket list boosts your self-worth

Cassidy Jackson, Assistant Opinion Editor

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The beginning of this summer, I sank into a state of intense self-deprecation. My freshman year was full of self-neglect and completely lacking self-care all because… I got swept into Northwestern’s “AND is in our DNA” mentality. I went from having a plethora of hobbies — namely journaling, poetry and running — to dropping all of them to keep up with all the classes and clubs I took on. Basically, my life was a loop: classes, clubs, homework, sleep and repeat.

It didn’t hit me until freshman year ended. Within a week being back home, I had broken down. What’s supposed to be a relaxation period was instead a rude awakening. As I sat on the couch binging on “New Girl” reruns, I truly had no clue what to do with my excessive freetime. The process of running back and forth across campus to clubs and classes made me lose myself. So, I set an intention. I decisively brought reading, poetry, journaling and running back into my daily routine. But I knew just bringing back old hobbies would only bring back old Cassidy. I wanted a new and improved Cassidy.

Writing had been a hobby of mine since I could hold a pencil; running started in middle school; I’d been a bookworm since forever. I had a long list of skills I wanted to hone in on from mastering French to riding a unicycle, but that’s the thing. It was a list that I never worked to materialize. So, that very day, I committed to learning one skill in the remainder of 2018: skateboarding.

Since I can remember, I’ve dreamed of being a skater girl. I partly credit this dream to my first girl crush, Avril Lavigne and her revolutionary “Sk8er Boi” track. And I credit the rest of this fantasy to growing up blocks away from a skate park. Standing on the sidelines, I watched beautiful skateboards glide back and forth, flip under the rider’s feet and speed across the pavement. To then 10-year-old me, these seemingly “normal” moves were magical. But instead of pursuing my skateboarding dream, I became a metaphorical benchwarmer, watching from the sidelines but never playing.

Last year, I was a freshman, and I was immediately reminded of my skateboarding dream by the countless skater boys on campus. At NU, it’s practically impossible to go a day without passing one… or witnessing an accident. Last year, I saw four rough skateboard accidents, including one where someone hit his head on the curb. It may have been a sign from God that pursuing skateboarding wasn’t a good idea, but… I refused to take it that way.

Instead, this past summer, I went out to Dick’s Sporting Goods and invested $65 in a poppin’ board. It has a rad sunset design, and its name is Frank. So, I came back to school with Frank in my arm, and every night, I go out for a ride on the lakefill. Believe me, I still have a long way to go, which is why I only ride during the cover of nightfall. I still occasionally have to manually change the direction of the board by hopping off, picking it up and shifting it slightly. But despite the roughness of learning to skateboard, it’s one of those things that, not to be cliche, makes me feel alive.

Since I was 10, I’ve had this dream, but because of simple laziness, I let it sit on the back burner for half my life. As people, we do this a lot. We set life goals and bucket lists but fail to execute. Personally, I’m still in the process of sifting through activities and figuring out how I want to answer the question “What do you like to do in your spare time?” but I’m figuring it out. And skateboarding has made the list.

Cassidy Jackson is a Medill sophomore. She can be contacted at cassidyjackson2021@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.

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