After passing through the official halfway point of the fall semester and start of a new month, it is all too easy to reflect on my recent experiences, in all aspects of college life.
There are many new beginnings happening in my life right now. I recently moved into my first apartment and adopted my own emotional support cat. Her name is Rugelach; she is two years old and extremely snuggly. I am living with two of my friends on the UD figure skating team and it is wonderful. We have decorated our common space together and have truly made our house into a home. I have been beginning to embrace adulthood, whether that means cooking and shopping for myself, cat parenting, deep cleaning, or paying bills. These new beginnings have been both scary and rewarding.
I have begun to take more classes related to my major. Last year, I was a biochemistry major, but I am now set on environmental science. To supplement this, I am taking the following (exciting!) courses: Wildlife Conservation and Ecology, Physical Climatology, Geology, and Understanding Climate Change. I am particularly excited about doing schoolwork and attending classes!
While I did not intend to take 200 and 400-level climate courses at the same time, they are complementing each other nicely. It’s a perfect arrangement: I start my day with a general introduction to climate change, and I end my day with a deeper dive into climate science. Both of the classes are taught by the same professor, Dr. John Callahan, which makes for an even better learning experience! I couldn’t be happier with my course load for this semester. I am falling more in love with my major every day.
I am in the Honors section of Wildlife Conservation and Ecology which meets separately once a week outside of the regular section of the class. The Honors section consists of a research project related to the observational analysis of wildlife. We are assigned the task of determining a research question and setting up game cameras in the woodlot forest on South Campus. These game cameras will send footage to a digital database and throughout the semester, we can observe the various organisms that pass by our cameras, developing answers to our research questions. (You can read more about this experience in my previous post!) The Honors group is smaller than ten people, which I love because it allows me to have more personal interactions with my professors and my peers. It is also refreshing to be learning outdoors instead of in a lecture hall. I am incredibly grateful to the Honors College for allowing me the opportunity to perform environmental research as a part of this class!
Another new beginning that is happening in my life is becoming an opinion columnist for UD’s independent student newspaper, The Review. Last year, I was a news reporter, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, my writing has a natural tendency to show bias, as I am apparently a very opinionated individual, so I decided to give opinion writing a try instead. I’ve already published two opinion articles this semester. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to speak candidly about important issues that the students here are experiencing and have my voice heard. I have already been contacted by two members of the faculty about my articles, so I can safely say that I am reaching the audiences that I wish to influence most. I look forward to seeing the positive changes that I can push for at UD.
This semester I have also experienced a new beginning related to figure skating. I have been a figure skater for the past 12 years and spent the past year competing in freestyle skating for the UD Figure Skating Team. Freestyle skating is a form of skating that consists of jumps, spins, and choreography. This summer, however, I embarked on a new journey in my skating career: Ice Dance. I had only trained in freestyle skating, so it is quite refreshing to begin focusing on the choreographic/aesthetic side of figure skating. I have completed my first test for Ice Dance and I look forward to learning more dances! Changing up my skating has been challenging but I never shy away from a good challenge. I love skating and I will continue to love any form of skating that I do.
There are many more beginnings occurring in my life right now, including becoming an intern for the Climate Change Hub and beginning to lead the Climate Scholars program. I have experienced so much personal, professional and academic growth this semester and I know that I will continue to flourish. I am so happy with the opportunities afforded by this university and the Honors College; I feel I am right where I should be. Additionally, I am thankful for the amazing people that I have met along the way. Cheers to even more new beginnings to come!