186 South College

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

Self-Discovery in College by: Avery Beer

College is the first time in our lives where we are allowed endless freedom. For the first time in most of our lives this is the chapter of our lives where we are completely independent and have the capability to do literally anything with our lives, which is scary yet incredibly liberating. Many people will tell you that college is the best time of our lives for so many reasons, but I think many underestimate the emotional journey that many students undergo.

Along with this new independence and freedom comes a lot of soul-searching. Who do you want to be? What do you stand for? What are your special talents and quirks and more importantly, what would you like to do with them to better the world around you? At a large school like Delaware, we are constantly meeting new people and immersing ourselves in different experiences. There is a lot of pressure at this time in our lives to really discover our true selves. It is easy to get lost, it is easy to feel like your life is in shambles (when in reality, it is most definitely not), and it is easy to feel like you do not even know yourself. I have felt like this, as I am sure most people have, on numerous occasions, and to solve my unsettled feelings, I have a mental list of things I can do to help myself clarify, reflect, and realize that I can do anything I set my mind to, so I figured I would share them!

1. Solo Adventures

Some hate being alone, and some love it. Regardless, going on adventures by yourself can really give you peace of mind that you didn’t even know you needed. I call my alone time my solo adventures, even if it just means walking to the get coffee or to the pharmacy and back. I highly recommend doing things by yourself sometimes in college to let ourselves breathe from the chaotic world.

2. Writing

This one is pretty self-explanatory, yet so many people loathe putting their words on paper (or on a computer). I understand why people would hate writing for school, but writing things down for yourself is so therapeutic. You aren’t being graded and you can literally write whatever you want… do it. Sometimes I find myself reading old things I’ve written about a specific incident or feeling that I had and it’s actually nice to look back on these things, good or bad.

3. Yoga

Many people cringe at this word. DISCLAIMER: contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be flexible for yoga. I think people have this confused. Yoga is whatever you make of it and the goal of yoga is to synchronize your mind, your body, and your breath. If your body is telling you to just lay on the mat, that can be yoga too! I started this beautiful art at a time in my life where I was feeling very anxious and although I do not do yoga everyday, it has taught me a lot about myself and it’s something I know I can always do. Plus, yoga clothes are cute!

4. Talking to people

I mean have a real, genuine conversation with someone. I understand it can be a bit awkward to just delve into a serious conversation with someone, but sometimes if you just start talking about whatever you are feeling, it will just flow and the next thing you know, you are gaining insight from whoever you’re talking to. The ability to speak to others is something we take for granted.. the power of human communication is one of the greatest of all because we are so intrinsically different and complex, yet we all influence each other. Plus, if you’re talking to someone who knows you well, they will really be able to help you with your unsettled feelings.

We all have our moments, especially in college. It is okay to be moving so fast and not even know which direction you’re going in… chances are there are thousands of people at school who feel the same way. When you’re feeling extra disoriented, extra emotional, or extra unsettled, take a deep breath and remind yourself that:

  1. You’re only human after all.
  2. You’re a blue hen, you’re the best breed of human there is!

~Avery Beer

How to Watch the Sunset by Gillian Zucker

Every day, we travel to another world where we can do anything and be anything we want to be. We are scientists researching cures to deadly diseases. We are pilots, flying high-speed planes to tropical destinations. We are authors or artists, receiving praise for our masterpieces. If I told you that this alternate universe existed within your reach, would you believe me? With the help of the services and apps that our phones, laptops, or tablets grant us nowadays, we can do anything and be anything we want to be. But are we losing something in the process?

Today, we participate in what researcher danah boyd considers an “Always-On Lifestyle.” This means that as a result of advanced technology, we are always connected to the online world no matter where we are. We are constantly multitasking: live-tweeting episodes of our favorite Netflix shows while refreshing emails and texting people on our glossy smartphones. I’m not immune to this phenomenon. Most of the time, I find myself starting off my day, not with The New York Times and a cup of coffee but with a Facebook newsfeed and unfocused eyes that jump from picture to picture, Buzzfeed video to Buzzfeed video without stopping. For a while, I told myself that my daily routine was keeping my brain active with all the content I saw. But I was wrong.

In my Media and Culture class, we watched a documentary (FRONTLINE’s Digital Nation) that talked about how technology can really impact young kids into their college years, sometimes in negative ways. I was frightened by studies in the documentary that showed an increased reliance on technology may be “dumbing us down,” and lowering our attention spans. This documentary made me realize that sometimes in the digital world, our thinking is contorted. We start to consider those 500 Twitter followers that occasionally click “like” on our posts as the real friends who will always be there for us. We start to post those classic Instagram pictures of sunsets instead of actually sitting outside and enjoying its beautiful rays. Rather than reading, we opt for SparkNotes, we “Kik” others out of our lives, and we stop living life to the fullest.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that technology is ruining the world or that everyone should participate in a social media cleanse. I assure you, I’m a Communications major, so I’m always thinking about the effects of media. I personally believe that technology provides everyone with endless outlets for creativity, helps raise awareness of and enact change to solve important societal problems, and it can connect people in ways we’ve never imagined.

But what I want you to keep in mind is that maybe the best way of connecting with that real world is disconnecting from all of those digital distractions from time to time. And to really begin to appreciate that real world around us, all we need to do is go outside again, sit back, and enjoy that beautiful sunset like we used to.

Villanova’s Upset: The Magic of Sports by Amanda Langell

Some monumental things have already happened in 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar, the trailer for Finding Dory was released, and Justin Bieber now has dreadlocks. The world of pop culture and cinema has a way of drawing everyone into a seemingly endless void of fame, debate, and gossip within seconds of each new event that sweeps the tabloids. Even though people are consumed by the drama of Hollywood, when it’s the month of March, all of that comes second to the NCAA tournament. Suddenly, every commercial on television is about March Madness and everyone around you is talking about college basketball, whether they are a big fan or just making a bracket for charity. For a month, it is a pulsating time that is undoubtedly more noteworthy than Justin Bieber’s dreadlocks.

There is a certain passion that erupts when watching sports that cannot be duplicated. Sure, when Leo won his Oscar, everyone was extremely happy, but after three minutes, it was over. There was no jolt of electricity like there is when thousands of people scream for a common cause in an arena for an extended period of time, all wearing their team’s colors and almost dizzy with anxiety and excitement. The adrenaline that causes fans to instinctively spring up and scream in ecstasy when a tied game is decided in the final dwindling seconds is, in my opinion, something that is unique and unprecedented. It produces tiny strikes of lighting that curl around your heart, dance around your chest, and refuse to simmer even when you are trying to sleep that night as opposed to the ephemeral feelings Hollywood draws from us. The NCAA final produced all of these emotions and more with Kris Jenkins’ buzzer beater three-point shot to bring glory to Pennsylvania.

When you think of colleges with power basketball teams, the obvious answers are always Duke University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Kansas. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is always up there as well, so it did not surprise anyone when they made the final. But Villanova? They are not typically on that list; however, they prevailed throughout the tournament and managed to upset UNC with their offensive determination. With the last possession of the game and only seconds left on the clock, Villanova had to make something happen quickly or else the game was going to overtime. When Jenkins set his feet for the three and let the ball leave his hands, millions of eyes, both in the arena and at home, followed the trajectory of the ball as time seemed to slow down. The country went silent and then it erupted in chaos. There are some occasions in sports that unfold as perfectly and dramatic as if they were scripted and they just do not compare to the faraway events happening on the west coast. There is an overwhelming element of human drama in sports that makes moments like these historic and everlasting, both in the minds of fans and on the replays of ESPN.

College doesn’t teach you: humility

Last week, I received an email asking me to submit what was deemed a “Bio-Sketch” for my convocation ceremony. “It should be roughly 50 to 100 words,” read the form email, “stating your full name, your major(s) and minor(s), and 2 to 4 additional sentences about yourself, including any special accomplishments, interests, awards, experiences or future plans that you would like to share about yourself.”

If I had to give a rough estimate, this is probably the tenth email I have received this year that asked me to describe myself in terms of individual promotion.

College has taught me many things. Humility is not one of them.

When you select a college, you’re told that you have chosen to attend the greatest school on earth, that you are surrounded by the greatest peers you could ever imagine, that these are the greatest four years of your life and that what lies ahead of you can only be greatness, defined by an array of statistics detailing rankings and happiness surveys and employment histories. You live in a bubble founded on the principle of narcissism. And when you live in such a bubble, it’s impossible to ignore the overwhelming compulsion that you, as a member of a community that engages in all manner of self-elevation, are also the best.

Over the course of my college career, I’ve seen this compulsion in action. I’ve felt it and I’ve acted on it. I’ve rarely been told to keep my pride in check or to watch my ego, primarily because everyone else was doing the same thing. At some point between freshman move-in day and junior pin ceremony, my classmates and I came to the consensus that accomplishments were only real if you bragged about them. We started to believe that it was not just our job to be successful, it was also our duty to ensure that the rest of the world knew exactly how successful we really were. We bought into the bubble of narcissism. Our egos overpowered our roots and we rejected the importance of humility in lieu of acknowledging our personal greatness because for some reason, we believed that we had made things happen on our own.

Here’s the other truth about college: you don’t do anything on your own. The greatest accomplishments that you list off in whatever your convocation bio may be were not the work of you, as an isolated individual. They are the result of a combination of forces and people acting in your favor. You are here, in whatever your state of success may be, because someone supported you along the way, whether that be your family, your mentors, your academic advisors, or the lady that filled your coffee cup at Dunkin Donuts every day of freshman year.

Working hard is admirable. Having multiple majors and minors, accomplishments, interests, awards, and experiences, 100 words of greatness to be spoken about in front of other people and their parents is impressive. But what’s far more beautiful is the ability to be grateful for whatever it is that brought you to the point of writing a paragraph for your college convocation ceremony. Crediting only yourself for your greatest successes and accomplishments is almost always a misrepresentation of personal history.

~Erin Dugan

I Object: The Exciting World of Mock Trial by: Anne Grae Martin

Mock Trial is probably one of my favorite activities that I participate in on campus. I talk about this all the time to my friends, assuming they know what I mean. Finally one of them told me that they have no idea what I’m talking about. When I talk about Mock Trial, most people just assume it’s like Suits/Law and Order/Legally Blonde/My Cousin Vinny/A Few Good Men/Judge Judy/pretty much any other legal TV drama or movie. I think what I’ve learned most from Mock Trial is that it’s nothing like any of these. Well, it’s a little bit like them. Movies and television aim to show the most exciting parts of a trial. The “Gotcha” moment. Shouting “I Object!!” when a witness says something damning. These moments are fun, and they do happen, but there is so much more to Mock Trial.

Here’s the breakdown. Every August, the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) releases a case that they have created. It includes an array of witnesses with statements, affidavits, and expert reports; from these you build your case. It also includes specific case law that AMTA makes up that apply to the case of the year. Finally, it comes with different exhibits. These are usually emails that witnesses have sent or diagrams of places where the crime occurred. Mock Trial teams from universities all over the country take all of this information and prepare for competitions. Every team has to prepare two sides: a plaintiff and a defense. During the fall semester we go to invitationals and pit our case that we lovingly built against other teams’. This is where you can see where the holes are in your case, as well as pick up on interesting angles that other teams use in their case.

Plaintiff/Prosecution goes first. They call three witnesses who they direct (they get to tell their side of the story), and then the opposing team does a cross examination of these same witnesses (to poke holes in the story they just told). Defense begins their case after a brief recess. They also get to direct three witnesses and have Plaintiff/Prosecution cross these witnesses. I think one of my favorite parts of Mock is that you walk into a room of complete strangers, and then for the next 2 hours or so you argue with them about made up crimes and people. It’s an amazing process and I’m always so impressed that everyone pulls it off.

At this point in the season we are preparing for the National Championship in Greenville, South Carolina. Nationals is a tournament where the top 48 teams in the country get to compete against each other with a whole new case. The competition is tough. We’re practicing 2+ hours a day. We spend hours going through each direct examination finding every possible place another team could object. We memorize obscure, made-up case law so that we can call out other teams on improper evidence. We meticulously style our witnesses so that we look like intelligent scientists, crazy bellhops, and definitely-innocent child-murderers. But it’s a labor of love.

UPDATE 4/19: There are roughly 650 Mock Trial programs that compete across the US. A select few make it to the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS). Only 48 get out of ORCS and make it to Nationals. After much anticipation I am happy to announce that UD’s Mock Trial team finished 8th at the Furman University Bell Tower National Championship! This is a record for the club. In addition to our amazing finish, one of our attorneys, senior Ellie Wallace, won an All-American Award for Outstanding Attorney and had the 3rd highest score out of all the other attorneys competing.

It was a long weekend of scrimmages and competition, but in the end we surpassed our wildest expectations. It’s satisfying to know that all the work we put in this past month paid off. Now that the season is over, I know I will become very nostalgic for this club that is so dear to my heart. I’m so fortunate to have had such wonderful teammates with whom I could share the experience. Thank you for everything.

~Anne Grae Martin

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