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  • Eternal Flame

Before I Die

Free falling from a plane. Bungee jumping off a bridge. Swimming with sharks. People go above and beyond when thinking about what is on their bucket list. Many people pick things that take them out of their comfort zones, while others stick close to home and go with what their heart tells them to do. It doesn’t matter what they put on there, buckets lists differ from person to person. 

According to LiveStrong, out of the top 20 things that people put on their bucket lists, most of them take place in a different country. Things such as, see Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower or visit the famous Pyramids in Egypt. For junior business major, Elise Tolley, it doesn’t matter what landmark is in that country. She wants to see them all.

"Since I was in elementary school I knew I wanted to spend my life traveling," Tolley said. "I have been very blessed to have already been able to travel to Hawaii and Australia."

Realizing at an early age how much of a culture difference there was between the United States and the rest of the world, Tolley has decided to make it her goal to travel. Coming to Texas from Montana for school, wasn’t enough traveling for her. 

"The culture shock was unreal coming to Texas, like the food here. I had never had true Mexican food until coming here," Elise Tolley said. "However, that only fueled my fire to go see more of the world." 

New memories and great food are only part of the reason why Tolley wants to travel. 

"When I went to Hawaii and Australia I enjoyed everything about each place and knew I wanted to learn so much more about them," Tolley said. "I want to gain a new perspective on life. Many people think having a bucket list is just about doing things that give you an adrenaline rush. For me it’s the complete opposite. I'm not doing it to get a rush from it."

Seeing things from a new perspective is something Tolley has always wanted to do. Traveling around the world would only strengthen her hunger for that. 

"I want to see things through other people's eyes. Seeing things, the way they see them could be what we need to understand it all better," Tolley said. "I know my journey doesn’t end here in the United States. there is so much left to see out there and I'm more than ready to jump on the boat and see the how far this world takes me."


Seeing new things and marking things off your bucket list doesn’t mean traveling across the seas. For junior ag major, Emily Howell, she wants to stay right where she is. 

"I don’t want to fly across the seas because flying scares me. I want to drive across the country. In a van. With my best friends," Howell said. "Home is fun, but seeing the rest of this country would be amazing."

Different states, mean different lifestyles. Learning to adjust and live in those lifestyles is can be a challenge, but Howell said she was ready for them.


"Like in Miami, I many people work in boutiques or restaurants on the beach and spend most of their days in the nice sun. But those people also have to learn how to handle hurricane seasons," Emily Howell said. "Then on the completely different side, people in North Dakota have to learn how to handle the snow! We don’t get nearly the same amount of snow here. It would be such a challenge and eye-opening experience to see how they handle that weather."

The rush of adrenaline can be attractive and cause people to act on certain things. Going deep under water is no different and gives Howell that sense of adrenaline that makes her want to act on it.

"People think I'm crazy, but I want to go deep under sea and see what all that magical unknown world has to show us," Howell said. "The Great Coral Reef is too cliché. I want to see the middle of the Pacific Ocean or the Indian Ocean. I could get to see sharks and fish. Things under water like that give me the chills. It's so beautiful. Since our world is 70% water why not explore it more."

Many people like to have a familiar face next to them when doing something scary or new. Crossing something off a bucket list is no different. 

"I definitely want someone there to hold my hand during the traveling. Going to new places is scary enough as it is, I would rather not do it alone ," Elise Tolley said. "I would want my boyfriend or two of my super close friends to travel with me. I would say family, but I know no one is my family would go traveling with me."

However, having a friend to stand next to during these adventures isn't what every person wants. 

"I want to travel with friends, but I want to do the ocean diving experience on my own. I'm worried that if I took someone with me, they would try to talk to me out of it," Emily Howell said. "This is too big of a need for me that I wouldn’t risk having someone who might not want to be a part of it go with me. Yes, I could always ask someone who is 100% for it, but I would rather not mess with it."

While doing stuff for yourself is what many people think of on a bucket list, others prefer to do things for other people. 

"The top two things on my bucket list are to go on a mission trip and then skydiving," Senior engineering major, Jacob Osborn, said. "The mission trip is actually getting to happen for me over spring break. I will be going with the BSM to Padre Island."

Every spring the Baptist Student Ministry on campus goes to Padre Island and has a mission trip. The mission trip is called Beach Reach. During the mission trips students will minister to college student by having a van that goes around and offers rides those who need one.

"I've wanted to go on one for a while and since I'm graduating in December I figured why not now," Jacob said. "With the skydiving one, I actually am trying to make that happen at one of my friend's bachelor parties. We are going to see how that goes."

Not all bucket lists have to be about doing things before you die. Graduate student Maddie Little has a bucket list she wants to complete before finishing up her masters degree.

"When I came to WT, I knew nothing about Texas. I am originally from New Hampshire, so Texas was a whole new story for me," Little said. "I never started thinking about a bucket list to have before I die, but I have one that is for before I graduate with my masters."

Little's life here in Texas has affected her bucket list and now she not only wanting to experience things in Texas, but get away from Texas as well. 

"One of the big things is to take an unexpected trip out of the state of Texas," Little said. "Yes, I want to experience everything in Texas like Austin City Limits and volunteer with the Amarillo community more, but I also want to experience more new things."

Little has come from New Hampshire and has experienced certain aspects and recreation that people here in Texas don’t normally get to. 

"Another thing on my bucket list is to play hockey again. Yes, again," Little said. "I played hockey in New Hampshire during high school. Our team was certainly not the best in the league. The first game we ever won in the program's history was during my senior year."

Little said that she had always wanted to play hockey, but never had the courage to do so until a friend of hers joined the team.

"She encouraged me to do it and I took the opportunity. Plus, the coach was my Latin teacher," Little said. "Playing hockey is definitely something I want to and have to do again before I graduate." 

Ryan Negron

Staff Writer

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