‘The Buried Life’ boys are serious about helping: Beyond the show, into your life

By Laura Hancq
November 9, 2010

On Monday nights at 10:30 p.m., college students in residence halls across the country, as well as teenagers from all different backgrounds, tune into MTV’s hit show, “The Buried Life.” As the opening song of “My Life Be Like Ohh Ahh” begins to play, viewers get ready to watch the four stars go on some sort of wild adventure such as stealing a lock of Robert Pattinson’s hair. What viewers don’t realize is that this is not just a show, but actually an entire movement dedicated in a special way for college students who want to discover passions and make dreams reality.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dave, Duncan, Ben and Jonnie when they came to speak at the college I attended last year. I was prepared to listen to some crazy stories, be star struck for a while and hopefully get a picture with them. While all of those things did occur, I also had one of the most moving experiences of my life.

They explained that the concept came to them while they were in college in Canada. Just like many college students, they had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives and some of the guys were suffering from serious depression because of it.

They started to ask themselves what they wanted to do before they die and they ended up making a list of 100 things. They pledged that for everything they accomplished, they would help someone else reach a goal. They explained how they had no money, no help and no transportation. They tried to get countless networks to pick them up as a show but all the networks wanted to have say in what they did and the guys were not willing to compromise. They were finally picked up by MTV and their movement became a phenomenon.

During the talk to the campus community, their message of actually having goals and dreams while persevering in the face of adversity hit home with the audience. It occurred to me that this funny show is actually a reflection on the young generation. People in the audience started standing up and telling the guys what they wanted to do before they died and I’ll never forget some of the things I heard and how a whole community came together and started to offer to help each other.

One girl said she desperately wanted to learn how to swim and the guys asked if the swim team was in the audience. Many of the team members were and they volunteered to teach their fellow classmate how to swim. One girl said she wanted to conquer her fear of singing in public and with encouragement from the guys and the audience, she sang some lines from a Taylor Swift song that were so good Swift herself would’ve been proud.


I heard some heartbreaking stories from people such as a guy who wanted to fulfill his mom’s dying wish to go to the Oprah Winfrey show. There was also a young girl who was a dancer and was dying of cancer who wanted to just have enough faith that she could live long enough to dance in New York. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room but the gears in the brains of the audience were turning.

In a place like a college campus, there are so many different kinds of people from different backgrounds, locations and areas of life. If there’s any time in life where dreams should be voiced it should be in college because there are so many people around who can help. What I learned that day was that the people sitting next to me in class or across from me in the cafeteria could actually help me achieve my dreams.

It’s kind of sad that our society has become a place where we need four humorous guys to teach us that we shouldn’t be afraid to tell the people around us about our dreams. If there’s anything that will stick with me from that experience it’s that no one is ever going to be able to help me achieve anything if I don’t put it out there and ask.

I urge the campus community at Cabrini to try this kind of communication. As a communication major, I obviously believe in the power of the spoken and written word, but trust me you’ll be surprised what can happen. Start by telling your closest friends something you’d like to do before you die and you’ll be amazed at how people will respond.

After college, the pressure to find a good job, make money and have a family is on. So why not before all of that voice something you’d like to do? Why not try and help a friend accomplish something? Un-bury your goals and ideas to the people around you and be willing to help them when they do the same. Life is short and college is shorter and you don’t want to come out wondering what would’ve happened if only you had told someone about a dream.

If Dave, Duncan, Ben and Jonnie came to Cabrini tomorrow, would you know what you would say when they asked you what you wanted to do before you die? If not, start there. If you do, gather the courage to tell someone on campus and see what happens.

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Laura Hancq

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