Crouched down, with my shoes in the mud, I hold the camera up to my eye and squint through the little square opening to see my subject. I adjust the focus and the aperture trying to find the best setting to take the picture. Then, all of a sudden, the sun passes behind the clouds. With my finger just hovering over the button, I pause and wait. On the other side of my lens, the small white flower with its delicate petals peeking out of the dead leaves and dirt remains there, untouched and unaware of my presence, and unaware of how long I wait until I can capture its photograph. Time ticks by and eventually the sun comes back out, and I can take the photo. Once I do, I look down at the camera and look through the dozens of photos I have already taken of the same flower. I find that only two or three out of the dozens of photos I had taken turned out the way I had hoped.
It is Monday morning. I am on the bus, overhearing conversations in Italian. I am holding onto the overhead bar for dear life as the bus speedily whips around the sharp corner up the hill. We pass small cars, historic buildings, and apartments with laundry hanging from the balcony. I am still groggy from the lack of sleep since my body hasn’t adjusted to the new time zone yet. But at the same time, I am jittery and excited; the espresso I drank that morning along with adrenaline are coursing through my veins. I can see light just peeking up over the horizon as we approach our stop. When I step off the bus, my jaw drops at what I see. The sun is rising up over the water and the cliff-side homes, casting the entire city in a warm yellow and pink glow. I hear the sounds of waves crashing against the rocks below and scooters zooming by as people are headed off to work. Everyone in my group pulls out their phones to take pictures. Our site manager is finally able to draw our attention away from the spectacular view to tell us to turn around. As we do, we see towering stained-glass windows covering the front of the building and palm trees lining the path that goes up towards the top of the hill beyond the front gates. We were staring at the hospital we would be commuting to every morning for three weeks. This was how my mornings went while I studied abroad in Genoa, Italy this past winter.
You wake up to the annoyingly persistent buzz-buzz-buzz of your alarm clock. The sun has just begun to creep up over the horizon, starting its day just as you are beginning yours. Your bed is so warm, so cozy. It is almost painful to force yourself up and out of bed. Yet, you know you must because there are essays to write, projects to do, and notes to study. It is another morning, another day, and you find yourself just counting down the hours, the minutes, the seconds until you can crawl back into bed and get some much-needed rest before taking on the next day.
Throughout the semester, we can all find ourselves feeling this way, like we are in a constant cycle of work and worry. As Honors Students, taking many challenging classes, getting involved in exciting research opportunities, and participating in time-consuming extracurriculars can begin to make life feel overwhelming at times. The work may keep piling up, but the desire to accomplish that work keeps finding a way to remain out of reach. And yet, while I have found myself in this position a time or two this semester, I have also found a way to break out of this dangerous cycle, and hopefully you can too.
Dear Freshman-Year self,
On a beautiful and sunny September day during the start of senior year, I decided to take a bike ride. I have always wanted to explore the trails around UD. But it wasn’t until senior year that I discovered the trails by the train tracks on South Campus extend way beyond North Campus as well. So, on that fateful day in September, I rode along those leaf-strewn trails, under the shade of the towering trees, and beside the rushing sounds of the river. Since it did take me four years to happen upon these trails, I couldn’t help but think: what would it have been like if I found them freshman year?