College Bucket List: Be Your Best Self Version

By Tianzhen Nie
Distinguished Young Woman of Hawaii for 2015

As Be Your Best Self week comes to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot, not only on how to make College the best four years of my life, but on how to become the best possible version of myself within these next four years.  Earlier this week, back when the sky was still a beautiful Carolina blue and Chapel Hill wasn’t caught in this awful thunderstorm that’s supposed to through Wednesday, my roommate/life partner/best friend Olivia and I sat outside on the grass, basking in sunshine and living the college postcard dream.  Too wired from coffee to nap but too tired to actually study, we decided to take advantage of our mutual break from classes to work on our bucket list for the next three years of college.  We created one for me, one for her, and one for the both of us.  Here’s some of our favorites, organized by BYBS principles:


Be Healthy

  • Work out every day for a week
  • Go vegetarian for a week
    1. Side note, it’s also good for the planet.
  • Run the Tar Heel Ten-miler
    1. I absolutely despise running, and will literally do any other form of exercise besides it. Part of being your best self however, means confronting those less than ideal parts of yourself (not to mention a lot of my friends did it this year and made me feel really un-athletic so there’s that…)

Be Involved

  • Hold a five-minute conversation with a basketball player
  • Make it on TV for a sports game, preferably basketball. This post’s cover photo is a screenshot of a snapchat my friend’s younger brother took of me on national television, when I was in Houston supporting our team for the NCAA Championship (which, as my pastor never fails to let us forget, we didn’t end up winning…)
  • Dye/shave my hair for cancer
    1. Because actions speak louder than words
  • Go a day without social media
    1. Instead of scrolling through instagram, we’ll rest our eyes on the beauty around us. Instead of trying to document everything for my snapchat followers, we’ll be present.

Be Studious

  • Make the Dean’s list every semester (or for Olivia, for every semester here on…)
  • …Okay to be honest we don’t really have specific academic goals beyond this one, but rest assured, Facebook guardians of the world, that school is (one of) our top priorities.

Be Ambitious

  • Make our own music video
  • Achieve a hundred day snap streak with each other (We’re currently on day 55)
  • Take a picture with our pastor JD
    1. We go to a megachurch, which means we only see him on a big screen. One day though…
  • Backpack through Europe together
  • Go skydiving
    1. Besides soccer, that’s the one club Olivia desperately wanted to join back when we were clueless freshmen wandering around Fall Fest, only to discover that it didn’t exist. I guess we’ll just have to go ourselves and start a campus movement XP

Be Responsible

  • Go an entire semester without online shopping
    1. It’s well-known that I had a major online shopping addiction last semester, but part of being responsible includes managing my money, especially if I want to go backpacking through Europe next summer…
  • Go an entire day where we compliment every single person we meet
    1. Being responsible includes living by moral and ethical principles, which means it goes hand-in-hand with being kind. What better way to do that, then to brighten the day of all the people around you?


Tianzhen Nie is a college freshman at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina . Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Tianzhen was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Hawaii  for 2015. Learn more about Tianzhen here!

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