186 South College

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

“My Fall Break in Italy” by Hayley Whiting

One of the advantages of studying abroad is visiting other cities and countries besides the one you’re studying in. For example, in Europe, a neighboring country is just a short plane or train ride away! So, over my fall break, I left Paris on a blissfully short flight (under two hours) to meet my parents for a week-long trip in Italy.

Our first stop was Rome, where we spent half of the week. Right away from our first day, I was surprised at how crowded the city was, especially for non-tourist season! To get to our Airbnb from the airport, we took a tram that was so packed there was barely enough room for anybody else to get on, and, later that day while sightseeing, I was surrounded by swarms of people in the streets and squares. The city definitely has a crazy, energetic, boisterous feeling to it, even at night, when you can hear shouts in the streets and scooters whizzing by! Continue reading

My Greatest Lesson: Navigating Ambiguity by Carlos Benito

College presents us with the greatest density of resources that we will ever know. Experts in any field reside here and the university is brimming with advisors and support staff whose sole purpose is to help us succeed. There lies the greatest enigma that no one can help answer, what is success? How do we define it now and how will our definition change in a time where every dawn brings a new disaster? No one can answer that for you, but I believe everyone faces at least one common obstacle on their quest for success – ambiguity.

Ambiguity is that fog of uncertainty that clouds the path to success. If any of us hope to find success, we must learn to chart our way through this fog. As noble as it may seem to storm in, suffer then finally succeed, there is an easier way. Ambiguity, despite its inherent nature, is always composed of the same few components. If you can anticipate these components and come ready with your response you will find success with less strife.

Component 1: Chaos

The universe is defined by entropy, and our lives within it are no different. We know our lives are most commonly filled with a specific flavor of chaos: disorganization. If we know we will encounter disorganization we must preemptively prepare a response. For us at UD, that response comes in the form or advisement. Everyone at UD has unique and useful knowledge, from a student’s review of a professor to an advisor’s wisdom in course selection, no one’s experiences can be disregarded as “worthless”.  Talk to students who have taken the course you wish to take and ask them what they thought of the professor. If you understand how the professor runs his/her class you can format your actions accordingly.

Component 2: Human Error

We all know people are not perfect but few actually take that into consideration before taking action. When a class is composed of a professors, TAs, preceptors, lab coordinators, and other staff, you can anticipate having at least some errors or inconsistencies due to miscommunication. If you know that will happen, prepare for it. I combat this by meeting with each staff member separately to understand what they value academically and emotionally as well as how they communicate with the other members of the staff. If I know how one person grades or one person is consistently out of step I can anticipate problems and clean up issues before they arise. This does not make any specific person’s knowledge, time, or opinion any less valuable. All it means is that it will take extra effort on your part to understand their thoughts and more often than not you will benefit from that extra effort.

Component 3: Failure

This is by far the hardest component of ambiguity to come to terms with. The failure we face can be caused by many factors, but I choose to look at failure on my terms. It can be easy to say failure came from human error or disorganization on the part of others but in the end it doesn’t affect them nearly as much as it affects you. With that in mind, you have to look at every failure as a consequence of your actions. It doesn’t matter whether it was or not, but you only have control over your emotions and your actions so anger towards anyone else is not useful. Sometimes failure is truly a consequence of your actions. When that times comes – and it will – you have to be ready. That preparation comes in the form of building a reputation of dedication, hard work, and responsibility. If everyone understand the values you stand for, even in your darkest moments they will still stand behind you. Then it relies on you to modify your plan to better prepare for a similar scenario in the future.

It is my belief that every person’s success is determined by their actions. With that in mind, you must make it your duty to make use of your support and sail forth towards ambiguity and towards your idea of of success. Safe sailing my friends.

“Reunion Run” by Erin Jackson

I recently ran the Café Gelato 10 miler alongside an amazing assortment of individuals whom I couldn’t have imagined together in any other circumstance. To be honest, I was not in my best shape and I didn’t know anyone else running the race, but I figured if nothing else, it would be a wake up call to myself to start working out more. Anyway, I am not going to write about myself because that would be boring; I want to write about my state and my school and how lucky I am that they are in the same place.

I didn’t know anyone else running when I registered that morning. However, once I began making my way over to the start, the reunion began to unfold. People from all parts of my past were crossing my path. Some I said hi to, others I maybe only smiled as they walked by, not noticing me. Still others I didn’t acknowledge at all for I didn’t know how to. Friends from high school cross country, freshmen to seniors, showed up in various stages of in-shape-ness since the glory days of having scheduled time to run together every day. More familiar faces included parents of friends, old teachers dating back to middle school and beyond, and that person I did that one project with one time but don’t know if they’d recognize me so out of context. Continue reading

Taking Fun Classes by Lorraine Capenos

Many people think that when it comes to classes, they’re all boring and slow and require long hours of work. And while it is true that some classes out there are like that, there are so many that are fun and can be taken regardless of your major or schedule. Fun classes can fit into any schedule or program if you know what to look for and how to fit it into your schedule.

My first tip is to major in something that you’re interested in. This is going to help exponentially with your class enjoyment. If you are in a major that you don’t care about and you’re just doing it for money or because it’s what someone told you to do, you won’t enjoy most of your classes. But when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it will come more naturally and be more enjoyable for you. My major is environmental studies and I take many classes that I find fascinating. I’m currently taking MAST200 which is a class on the oceans, and I love it and find it super interesting because it’s what I am passionate about.

My next tip is to look at what breadth requirements or elective credits you need, and find fun ways to fit those in. For instance, I fulfilled one of my Group B requirements with a history class on ancient Greek and Roman society instead of a class I would find boring. One of my group A requirements is being filled with an English class about Harry Potter, and everyone in that class loves it. You can find room in your schedule to fit in fun classes, you just might have to look a little harder. Using the UD course search can really help with this if you use its features to narrow down what you’re looking for and what requirements you need to fill. You can even narrow down what days and times you need a class to fill.

Another tip is to be prompt about registration. Most people know how competitive registration can be and understand the rush to try to enroll in a certain class before the spots all fill up. Fun classes like mythology and Harry Potter will fill up fast because everyone wants a spot. If your registration appointment is at 8 am, be ready to register at 7:45, with your computer on, charged, and logged in to register, and with a list already prepared of what classes you want to get into, and some alternatives in case those don’t work out. It’s very important to have alternatives, because you don’t want to get stuck in a class you won’t like because you took too much time to figure out your schedule while you could have already been registering for classes.

My final recommendation is to ask your friends about classes they have taken. People always seem shocked to find out that I took a class about Greek mythology and got honors credit for it, because it was an absolute dream of a class and it fulfilled honors credits and a breadth requirement for me. Definitely ask your friends or classmates about which classes and professors were their favorites, or at least spend some time looking at the course listings for the upcoming semester and see if you can find anything interesting.

“Sleep: An Unrecognized Treasure” by Ryan Dean

There are certain practices that are familiar to all college students; chief among them being the “all-nighter.” In our hectic lives, sleep is often the first resource abandoned in favor of studying or hanging with friends. This is a real shame, because sleep is far more significant to an individual’s well-being than most people realize. In this post, I’m going to make the case for sleep, and ideally open a few eyes to the necessity of this forgotten practice.

Let’s start with the basics: what is sleep? A good night’s rest can be broken down into 5 phases, which are cycled through repeatedly as one sleeps. As we progress through these stages, the body moves into an increasingly deeper sleep, until finally reaching REM sleep. It is at this point that we experience dreams. So called “deep sleep” and REM are the most critical phases, and receiving an adequate amount of each is necessary to feel rested in the morning. In fact, if an individual is suddenly awoken during REM sleep, their body will instinctually move directly into that phase the next time the person sleeps. And while this is all fascinating, it isn’t entirely clear why we sleep. That said, the effects of sleep deprivation are evident and worrisome. Continue reading

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