25 Before 25

I’ve decided to take a leaf out of Lifehack’s book and make a list of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25. Although, it’s more a leaf out of  Laura and Ellie’s books, because their lists are more challenging and individualised.

Today is 19 months til I turn 25. That seems a long way off, but then again, so did 23! I count my lucky stars that I am studying a six-year degree: honestly, it gives me more time to get my ish together. So here are 25 things I want to do within the next 19 months. Some are necessities, some are a little embarrassing, some I just want to do.


1. Circumnavigate the Globe

I’m going to put this here even though I just did it because I feel it would be unfair to leave such a big (and expensive, and emotionally taxing) experience out. Yay Semester at Sea! Also, most lists go 24 things to do before 25 so I think I am allowed this one.

2. Visit a place in South Africa for the first time

There are so many places I haven’t been! I’m thinking somewhere along the Wild Coast will be ideal, like Coffee Bay.

Mike Cohen, Bulungula Lodge

3. Visit a neighbouring country of South Africa

It is a little odd that I traveled to a different continent before I visited an African country besides my own. I’ve been to Mauritius, Ghana and Morocco now, but I would love to visit one of the following: Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe (safety issues though) or Zambia (not technically neighbouring, but I have a friend there and it’s close-ish). I think it would be a great trip to take with the family.

4. (Re)Learn the African Countries and their Capitals

I used to know these – curse you, primary school Geography! – but have forgotten them. And things have changed (political turmoil, name changes, et cetera). Anyways, I feel like 54 aren’t that many to memorise… right?

5. Host a foreigner

I was shown such kindness during my travels, with so many friends-of-friends meeting up with me (and often paying for my dinner). I do not have the facilities to actually host someone overnight, but I do want to be kind to someone visiting South Africa and pay-it-forward in that way.

6. Visit the Heart of Cape Town Museum

How is it that I study medicine IN CAPE TOWN and I have not visited this museum?

7. Get comfortable cooking at least three dishes 

I am horrid when it comes to food. I can make eggs, mac&cheese, grilled cheese, popcorn and um… cream of wheat? I love baking (recipe, follow it, ta-da!) but I feel like I need to get better acquainted with cooking. What if my internship posting is in some random place in the middle of nowhere with no friends or family nearby?

8. Establish an exercise routine

For now, it is going to have to be running or some other routine that does not require a gym membership. I really do want (need) to get back into shape. This body is not 18 years old anymore.

9. Eat only one chocolate bar per week (or as little as possible)

This one is going to take some time, because I am THE chocoholic. And people indulge me.

10. Make handmade Christmas or birthday gifts

I love creativity. But, you know, I always run out of time and end up just buying.

11. Sew

Let’s not be overly ambitious here. I do not have the time (or the inclination) to sew garments. But I do need to replace a whole lot of buttons, and I can’t keep waiting on the holidays to ask Mom to do it.

12. Participate in NaNoWriMo

I did actually “participate” last year. But not REALLY participate.

13. Do a “Wreck This Journal”

I learned about this for the first time yesterday and OH MY WORD I WANT ONE. I started saving for it immediately. I think once I’ve done one I’m going to do some adapted ones DIY.

14. Get my driver’s license

This is the embarrassing one. Don’t laugh. Because I should have had it ages ago. I need to get it by this December.

15. Complete a Coursera course

You’d think that after doing FOUR WHOLE COURSES through U.Va on Semester at Sea this desire of mine would have dissipated. Apparently not. I did a Coursera class last year and liked it, but the peer reviewing system for the particular class was bunk so I ended up just auditing it. I’d like actually to complete a course. This is looking for trouble, isn’t it? Well, I’ll be careful. I seem to do better when I am in control of my learning.

16. Learn basic Xhosa

I really want to learn French – so much easier, what with it being Latin-based! However, I will be practicing in South Africa and it is SO HARD already dealing with patients who do not understand me and whom I do not understand. If my first year little sister can learn it, then so can I.

17. Get re-acquainted with Anatomy

Let’s just say Anatomy is not my favourite subject and I have forgotten a lot of it. That sounds like blasphemy, doesn’t it? I am not even going to elaborate on this. Frankly I do not know if I will have the TIME for this, but it seems like the kind of thing for which I should make time.

18. Have one internet-free day per week

Semester at Sea was pretty much internet-free, but these days I’m as attached to it as ever. An internet-free day seems so… healthy, and hippy-like, doesn’t it?

19. Start a Project

Preferably something that entails some research, because that would give me bonus marks at graduation. But really I want to do something awesome, like the people in 200 Young South Africans did. And if I don’t start it, but am heavily involved in it, that’s okay too.

20. Read 25 books that I currently own

Because it is a waste of money to own them and not read them, right?! I’ll put a list up, soon.

21. Read an audiobook

I don’t know how this is going to go down. I can see myself getting distracted and starting to play Sugar Cru- I mean Spider Solitaire.

22. Make a Semester at Sea collage

Like this one! I have lots of photos, postcards and currency and I think this is such a good idea.

Hayley Wilkins

23. (Try to) Donate Blood Again

The last time I donated I barely weighed enough and may have been wearing very heavy jeans. Subsequently I spent about an hour with my feet in the air and with nurses faffing over my blood pressure, being forced to eat very greasy, very salty slap tjips.

24. Take the train somewhere in Cape Town

There was not a single port on SAS that I did not make use of public transport. Fancy in some countries, seriously risky in others – confusing in all. And I figured it out, in each one. Public transport is so much cheaper in any case. If I can do it in strange places, I can do it in my own country.

25.Graduate MB.ChB.

I am a little scared to put this on the list, because I don’t want to jinx it… I all goes well, I am set to graduate a month before my 25th birthday. I will definitely need to work a little harder than I have, though. I feel like I may have gotten this far on luck.

So there you have it! After this list, I feel like I should make a list of things I can actually do! Just to boost my own ego. I swear, there are many things that I can do. 🙂


  1. Rory says:

    I’ve considered making a 30 before 30, but that is still a couple years out – so I’m thinking come up with a list and start putting it into practice around 28.5…?

    This is an amazing list, enjoy crossing those off!

    1. Thank you! I’m a little nervous that it’s just “good intentions”.
      I guess it depends on how difficult the things you want to do are. Maybe make a preliminary list in your head to see if you think 18 months will be enough time. Although a little pressure can be good, I suppose!

  2. Great variety! You’re so young- enjoy it! I’ve heard of Wreck this Journal but don’t know a lot about them- I need to investigate.

    I think these “x before x” lists are good wake up calls, but I’ve seen people be really unrealistic (not you, though). Heck, I’ve even put some unrealistic expectations on myself in regards to age. Some thing you just can’t control.

    1. Thank you! It’s hard to feel young on this campus, heh.
      I think your students would like Wreck This Journal – but then, I think anybody would.
      Some of these things may not be in my control after all… we’ll see. But here’s to trying!

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