More than just your average bucket list

Middle school science teacher Mr. Behrens admires various pictures of his family. In his right hand are pictures of him and his two daughters, and in his left hand are pictures of his family and his wife.

Becca Meusch

When asked what’s on their bucket list, the typical person may respond with “skydiving” or “swimming in the ocean.” Of course, everyone has goals and dreams they want to accomplish throughout their lifetime before they die. But what about those who have true aspirations on their bucket list or things that define who they have or will become in the near future?

As kids, some people may dream of becoming singers, however, that can soon change once reality comes into play and changes their minds. Senior Jordan Degarmo is already leaps and bounds into the process of checking this off the top of his bucket list.

“I’d say music starts with everybody when they are a kid because your parents might have listened to it. My top thing on my bucket list is to become a successful artist or DJ,” Degarmo said. “I want to be known for something that I have a big passion for. It’s practically my life.”

Degarmo plans to attend Wayne State College after high school and receive a degree in music to help guide him on his way to becoming a professional artist/singer. In the future, Degarmo has high hopes to collaborate with some of his idols, including Skrillex, Virtual Riot, and Barely Alive. Degarmo’s bucket list also includes joining Monstercat, a record label, and performing a show at Coachella, Tomorrowland, or at the Ultra Music Festival.

“The first song I ever made was over a year ago. I started to go in my own direction of music I listened to. Then, I found out that electronic was what I especially loved and I stayed toward it,” Degarmo said. “At first, I didn’t really want to make [music]. I started to research and I thought it would be fun and easy. I have made 24 songs now.”

By using online programs similar to Garageband, Degarmo spends his free time using a program called Audiotool. He uses sound samples from there and puts them together by cutting and rearranging to create his songs, he said. Degarmo said he sees music differently from most people and doesn’t see it as pleasure to listen to, but rather as almost a piece of art that has meaning, effort, and passion put into it.

“I remember back then when I started doing these little things, I got so happy when I would finish a song. It’s nice to have bucket lists. Not everyone is going to have the same thing for music, but if they did then that’s really cool,” Degarmo said. “I believe that if you have a passion for music like I do, I think that anyone can do it as long as you try. If I just try my best, it should work for me.”

Click here to listen to some of Degarmo’s latest tracks.

Senior Nicole Buntgen takes into account being adopted for her bucket list. Because it was a closed adoption, Buntgen has little information about her family in South Korea.

“For the longest time, I have known that I want to find my birth mom and the rest of my family. It’s something you don’t hear every day,” Buntgen said. “It’s definitely something unique and something that I hold really close to my heart.”

With the help of her family, Buntgen said she plans to begin the search for her birth mom after she turns 18. Following graduation and throughout the summer, she is looking forward to gathering information of how to go about finding her birth mom. She said the sooner she meets her, the better.  

“I think about it, and I realize that I have zero information about her, and that’s what scares me. So I kind of have to just work with that,” Buntgen said. “My birth mom is a big part of my life. I feel like if I leave this earth and I don’t get to meet the woman who gave birth to me, my life was incomplete and I didn’t go out there and do what I needed to do.”

Many people don’t take into consideration that they come home to their birth family everyday. Meeting her birth mom means very much to Buntgen because it’s an extremely meaningful situation that would change her life forever, she said. It is a nerve-racking experience because she doesn’t know if she will be able to meet her birth mom due to strict customs in Asia.

“It’s a really difficult situation and it makes me really sad because I know that there is a chance that I’m not going to meet her knowing all the circumstances, but I mean I’m going to try,” Buntgen said. “It could honestly be that she wants nothing to do with me and she wouldn’t want to risk what would happen with her life right now.”

Buntgen said meeting her birth mom and being adopted are the two most important aspects of her life and sit at the top of her bucket list.

“These things are so important to me. I know this may sound cliché, but I think you should really go out there and do what you want because you really do only have this one life,” Buntgen said. “[My adoption] is something different; there are not a lot of Asians here so I’m lucky I get to stand out. My mom believes that everything happens for a reason.”

Middle school science teacher Kevin Behrens also has ambitions. According to Behrens, everything recorded on his bucket list is completely considerate toward others.

“I would like to do some mission work because I have heard other people describe how it impacted them and made them appreciate their lives,” Behrens said. “When you help others, especially those in great need, then what you give will eventually come back to you.”

One of the main aspects of his life is family, he said. Behrens said he wants to be able to watch his youngest daughter get married and watch his grandchildren grow up. He also wants to stay in good health so he can keep impacting people’s lives in a positive way.

Everyone has different characteristics that help define them. Many use those to their advantage so they can achieve something in life. Whether it’s creating your own music, traveling the world to meet your birth family, or helping others by being selfless, with a little hard work, anyone can do anything.

“I think people should expand more than just the simple goals like wanting to do their best or getting all A’s,” Buntgen said. “People should broaden their horizons and expand on that. You really do only have this one life to live.”