On ‘Bucket List,’ Both Joy and Tears

Chalk board project prompts students to ponder futures

Sharon Kim

Students have written about before graduation aspirations on a chalkboard ‘bucket list’ between Thayer Hall and the Science Center yesterday.

“Kiss a crew boy” and “go streaking” were just a few of the goals expressed in chalk on a school-wide ‘bucket list,’ where students are encouraged to express the one thing they wish they could do before they graduate.

Hanging on Meyer Gate between the Science Center and Thayer Hall, the “Before I Graduate” list is a 23-foot-long chalkboard with the words “I want to,” followed by a blank space. Passers-by can use chalk hanging off the board to complete the sentence with whatever hopes and dreams they have for their futures.

The board is filled with heartfelt, fun, messages and playful goals. But more emotional messages—“make a difference” and “not feel ashamed to be myself”—have found a place on the chalkboard as well.

The idea for the project came from a similar sign hung in New Orleans, according to George Zisiadis ’11, who called the chalkboard “a fun, playful community bucket list.” He, Erika M. Lovin ’11, and members of the Senior Class Committee are leading the project.

By this point the stark black board is covered with wishes drawn graffiti-style in brightly colored chalk.  Lovin said she hopes the student body—and especially seniors—take the sign to heart.


“As something done by the Senior Class Committee, we wanted to get seniors to think about the things they wanted to do before they graduate,” Lovin said.

But organizers emphasized that, although the exercise is mostly targeted towards seniors, the chalkboard is meant for the entire Harvard community to enjoy.

“It is especially aimed toward seniors but it is something the entire campus can get involved in, whether they write their own things or they are just observing what other people write,” Zisiadis said.

“You don’t have to wait ’til senior year to think of all the things you want to do before you graduate.”

The sign has caught the attention of many underclassmen wandering in and out of the Yard.

“It’s a good idea to have a sense of what you want to accomplish before you leave” college, Christopher H. Cleveland ’14 said. “Especially early on, I think too many people go through college and then want to go back.”

Especially in light of the oft-expressed sentiment that the semesters have flown by—freshman concluding their time in Annenberg and juniors gearing up for intense work on senior theses the next year—Lovin said she thinks the sign can be just as meaningful to underclassmen as it is for seniors.

“Time at Harvard is really special and is definitely limited for everyone,” Lovin said. “So there are absolutely things the underclassmen can get out of it too—probably just as much if not more than the seniors, knowing they have more time to do the things on their bucket list.”

Zisiadis said he too wants the community to take advantage of the time they have left in college.

“People get into a rut, and we wanted to tell people to go have fun and don’t wait to do the things you want to do,” Zisiadis said.


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