Last week, I had an experience in one of my classes that really challenged me to think. Not about science or math, but introspectively. My professor asked me to write a 5-page essay about what I value and why. At first, I didn’t think I would ever be able to fill 5 pages–this is my usual fret when it comes to longer essays. Then, after a few minutes of deliberation, I was suddenly worried that I would not be able to fit my thoughts into the given constraint. 

To start, there are a lot of different categories of things that can be valued. For one, I value a lot of what has been given to me in my life. I value, maybe not most importantly, small material items, like a well-made latte, or a new, brightly-colored sweater. Little items like these add a bit of joy to everyday life. I value things in my life supplied by nature, like forests to hike through or the sounds of birds chirping in the morning. I also, at my core, value people. I think highly of the time I spend with my friends and family.

In making this list, I simultaneously wrote a description of who I am as a person. I realized that a person’s values are truly integrated with their lives and their experiences. And those experiences have had a profound impact on my life at the University of Delaware. 

Being at the University for just short of four years, my life has been intertwined with what the school has had to offer me. The last well-made latte I bought was from the Starbucks on Main Street, just steps away from the campus. My newest brightly-colored sweater is one that I picked off of the racks at the Christiana Mall, a place frequented by my friends and me in my last two years of college. 

When I think about nature, I think about the hiking trails around White Clay Creek, or the beautiful tall trees that line The Green. It is a tradition to go to the UDairy Creamery with my family and ask for ice cream with blue and yellow sprinkles–not only are they delicious, but they also have school spirit! 

I have also made countless memories with the family that I found on this campus. From Accepted Students Day, to move-in days, to the dinners after University Singers concerts, we have shared wonderful times here at the University. 

So, I have to add one more item to my list: I value being a Blue Hen. The University of Delaware has had a positive impact on my life, providing me with opportunities on and off campus to pursue what I love. My time here has been so memorable, enjoyable, and enriching that it will travel with me long after I leave college. And much like trying to fit all of my values into a 5-page essay, it is hard to fit all that I value about UD into a mere 500 words.

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