For this Throwback Tuesday, let’s revisit some sage advice from Sarah Blum about meditation and mindfulness, written in 2019.
I cannot remember a time when starting a new year of school or a new semester did not stress me out. There is actually a picture of me on my first day of kindergarten SOBBING because I was so scared to go to class. I would love to go back and tell that kindergarten me that she had it good, but I digress. School has always been synonymous with stress for me. I was determined to challenge that idea before spring semester started, and now that we’re a few weeks in, I have to say – things feel different. I don’t look at my calendar and see a bunch of daunting due dates staring back at me or toss and turn all night thinking about how much work I have to do the next day. I wish I could tell you that I flipped a switch and suddenly I wasn’t stressed, but unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. There were no switches or magic spells, and I don’t think there will ever be a time when I can say I’m not stressed at all. But, I have learned that stress can be managed by being a little more mindful.
Whether we realize it or not, goal-setting is something that we continuously engage in on a daily basis. But it is also something that tends to overwhelm us. Why? Because we often end up setting goals for ourselves that are unrealistic. And those unrealistic goals lead to us not being able to reach them. And not being able to reach them leads us to feeling guilty. And feeling guilty leads to decreasing motivation. And eventually, we just give up, letting this cycle go on and on. As we go about the semester with our Honors course loads and activities, creating practical goals, and actually following through with them, becomes absolutely essential for the efficient management of all of our time-consuming commitments. Personally, I have found that there are three things in particular that help with making sure that goals stay grounded, and thus, more reachable.
One of the things that I’ve appreciated most about being at university is how much freedom one is given to choose how they spend their time and energy. College can be whatever you want it to be. You can start and join RSOs, take part in research and internships, play sports, and/or focus on your personal growth and fulfillment. College, after all, is a time to find yourself and explore your identity. Whatever you decide to do, it is important to remember that your opportunities are endless and you can always change your path.
When I was in high school, I was constantly wary of social and academic pressure from others. I cared greatly about getting into the colleges of my choice and wanted to be at the top of my class. I saw what other stand-out students were doing and followed suit. I joined some honors societies, started a club, had a job, volunteered, and took as many AP classes as possible. I practiced conformity and ended up not knowing who I really was. While I take comfort in knowing that many students did the same, I am very thankful that I’ve left that mindset behind and spent the past two years growing into myself.
Politely curious individual: “So what are you studying?”
Me: “Well, you see, it’s complicated…”
An excellent, tried-and-true icebreaker in a university setting is asking someone’s academic specialty. Not only does it help break awkward pauses – it’s a way to get to know someone and their interests and maybe learn something new yourself in the process.
For example, did you know that there’s an Insect Ecology and Conservation major? Fascinating!
I just always feel bad when I give a long answer to this one-line question.
I’m an International Relations and Russian Studies double-major with minors in Journalism and Museum Studies.
Yes, I sleep.
Yes, I will graduate on time.
And yes, I absolutely love it!
I am fascinated by studying plants and animals. I am an Environmental Science major with an Ecoscience concentration and am especially interested in the biological components of the environment. A class about the interactions between wildlife and the environment is the perfect intersection of my interests; luckily, I am in such a class.
I am enrolled in the Honors section of ENWC201: Wildlife Conservation and Ecology. For the Honors extension, students have been conducting wildlife research in the woodlot on South Campus. I am very grateful that this class is a part of my major requirements, particularly because of its hands-on Honors section. My research group chose to study the effects of lures on attracting wildlife. We wanted to see which lures were most effective and which lures appealed to different species. The lures that we used in our research were “Obsession” by Calvin Klein, fatty acid tablets, and “Gusto” (mouse guts and skunk, ew!).