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grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

“Self-Doubt” By Ben Aghajanian

I have a poster of a penguin in my room here at University of Delaware. Admittedly, I got this poster because I love penguins. However, the more I study it, the more I wonder about its significance. The poster displays snapshots, from the side, of a penguin on his journey to the edge of the iceberg: starting at a standstill, accelerating, then coming to a stop right before jumping into the Antarctic water. It puzzles me to this day why he doesn’t just jump in. Isn’t that what penguins do? I’ve watched enough of Disney’s Happy Feet to know that penguins love swimming, especially diving. So what’s the problem? Is he afraid? Does he not know how to navigate the waters? Or is this poster symbolic of a greater, more philosophical conversation?

Stimulated by the mystery, I asked my friends for their opinion on the matter. Interestingly, everyone had different interpretations. One of my friends said that, in fact, each “snapshot” was a different penguin, and the one at the end was chickening-out of a group plunge. Others claimed it represented each stage of life–from birth to the periphery of death.

Personally, I saw doubt in this penguin. He’s not a baby, so knows how to swim, and I’m assuming he lives near the iceberg, so he should feel comfortable with navigation. Nevertheless, he holds back. He had so much hope in the first few snapshots–pushing off, each step larger than the last. But at some point along the way, a mass of uncertainty infected his motivation.

The sad thing is that I see myself in the penguin. Occasionally, I set a goal, work diligently at it for a few weeks–maybe a month–and then lose commitment. For example, in high school, I decided I wanted to give a speech about subconscious racism to my peers and the general public. I got permission from a professor, gathered the data, and put together a slideshow, but the moment I felt resistance from the superintendent, I gave up. I gave up because I thought the idea was too big for me, too big for a seventeen-year-old kid.

If there’s one thing that the penguin poster has taught me, it’s to get rid of self-doubt. It’s important to take all the chances you get, particularly in college. If you know you can do something, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t accomplish it. Letting false uncertainty hold you back will only result in regret. As William Shakespeare once said: “Our doubts are traitors/and make us lose the good we oft might win/by fearing to attempt.”

Guest Post: Danielle Iacovelli reflects on Italian cuisine

a-solo-un-minuto-de-laWhile Rome is a large city, it hasn’t been hard for the World Scholars to find our favorite places to visit including not only monuments, but small gelaterias and pizzerias.  After living here for more than two months, we’ve all found places that are almost like home to us. Continue reading

“Going the Distance” by Alyssa Schiff

Is long-distance worth it? This is a question many in long-distance relationships might ask themselves at one point or another. Is it really worth spending four years of college in a long-distance relationship? My answer is that if both people think it’s worth it, then it is. From my experience, the semester has been difficult doing long-distance. There is the constant ache of missing the other person and not being able to see each other, the constant desire to share your life with the other person when you can’t really share everything. Suddenly I found myself at times feeling more bitter than I ever did as a single person when faced with couples able to go to college together. Continue reading

Guest Post: Lauren Marvin learns to communicate in Italian

italian-phrasesIn deciding to come to Rome, I was hopeful that this immersive experience would help me pick up the language quickly. I mean, what better way than to surround yourself with it on a day to day basis?

That being said, within our first few days here I was completely overwhelmed by how little I was able to communicate with the native Italians. I felt like I had been thrown into the deep end of the pool without being taught how to swim. Granted, that was my own fault for coming in with absolutely no knowledge, but I wanted to see how much I truly learned over the course of my time here. The phrase “parla inglese?” became my lifeline for the next two weeks. Continue reading

“A Home Away From Home: Coffee Shop Culture” by Jenna Newman

If you have walked up and down Main Street you may have been overwhelmed by all of the various coffee shops. You have your typical commercial coffee shops like Dunkin’ Donuts, Saxbys, and Starbucks, but you also have local shops such as Brew Haha, Central Perk, and Brewed Awakenings. Even if you are not a coffee drinker – although I most definitely am – there is still something appealing about going and sitting down in a coffee shop with headphones and homework.

Continue reading

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