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

Category: Nicole Pinera

“Appreciating the Tough Times” by Nicole Pinera

As another semester slips away, I find myself wishing that time could slow down but also go faster all at the same time. There are so many challenges that I wish I didn’t have to deal with, like managing my time or dedicating myself to studying. Ask anyone who knows me decently well and they’ll tell you that I need to get more sleep, and I can say that I haven’t been going to the gym nearly as much as I was in the first few weeks of the semester. My coffee consumption has probably overtaken my water consumption, and CR’s desserts are an unfortunately addicting source of quick energy. The textbook readings that I still need to do seem to be piling up, and my last round of exams looms ever closer. Even this blog post is overdue. (Sorry again, Hayley!) Despite the relative lack of order in my schedule, I still feel like I’m not doing enough — I don’t have enough to show for all of the work that I have done, and I could definitely be doing more. Everyone else seems to be managing their busy schedules, so why can’t I?

One thing I’ve learned, as I’ve gotten more involved on campus, made closer friends, and taken on a more rigorous academic schedule, is that you have to learn to love every moment, otherwise you’ll quickly burn out. There will be late nights and stressful exams, regrettable dessert choices and the jitters from that last cup of coffee. But there are also the good times, like when you finally cross that last assignment off in your planner and know that you can have the rest of the night to binge watch movies with your friends. The feeling of finally, finally understanding how to tackle those tough chemistry problems, the satisfaction of a good workout on a Saturday morning, the feeling that you’re a day closer to being the person you’ve always hoped to be… these are the things that I’ve come to realize that I have to focus on. Staring down an ever-growing list of things to do is daunting, sometimes even terrifying. But every little challenge that you overcome makes you stronger as a person. 

Particularly this semester, I’ve realized that I’m not the person that I used to be. I’ve grown in so many different ways since coming to UD, and if it weren’t for the good times and the bad times, I wouldn’t have made those personal gains. Along with my own growth, I’ve also reached out more to the people in my life for support. As High School Musical so eloquently put it, we’re all in this together. Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses, and I’ve found that my friends and peers have built me up where I struggle, and I’ve done the same for them. For example, having several extroverted friends has pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me more comfortable with putting myself into new situations and meeting new people. There have been so many opportunities that I probably would’ve missed out on if it weren’t for that. If all I saw were the difficult times, how would I ever come to appreciate all of the good things that have come from those challenges? 

Image obtained from: https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/5244024-happiness-can-be-found-even-in-the-darkest-of-time 

“Major Decisions” by Nicole Pinera

It is hard to believe that the end of the spring semester came so quickly. My first year as a college student is  complete; in comparison to how long it felt like I waited to get here as a high school student, desperate to break out into the “real world,” it’s gone by all too fast. With the end of the semester came the (somewhat tedious) process of planning for the next fall semester. I took the opportunity to reflect on my current major and solidify some big decisions.

At some point during the fall semester, after scouring the course catalog a few times and reflecting on my current classes, I decided that I wanted to switch out of Exercise Science. Based on my interests, the logical decision seemed to be Biological Sciences. But all of this raised an obvious question: when do I make the switch? I found myself in an academic advisor’s office around midterms during the fall semester, asking all of these questions and unsuccessfully trying to figure out four years in one meeting. Her advice to me? “Go back to your dorm and worry about your midterms for now.” It wasn’t the right time to start questioning all of my life decisions, and the courses that I was taking had me on the right track for Exercise Science or Biology. There was no rush to make that decision at the time, and I’m glad that I took the time to consider my options. Continue reading

“Think Like a Tomato: A Guide to the Pomodoro Method” by Nicole Pinera

We thrive on the ping of new notifications, two paragraph long summaries of three-hundred page novels, and fifteen second video clips… and it is killing our productivity. When it’s time to sit down and study or write that final essay that’s been hanging over your head all semester, it can be hard not to start mindlessly scrolling through your phone. I’ve found a technique that helps me focus and get work done. Especially as UD Honors students, who typically have too many commitments and just not enough hours in the day for every one of them, being productive and focusing on the task at hand is a lifesaver.

For anyone who knows a little bit of Italian (disclaimer: I don’t, I used Google Translate), you’ll know that “pomodoro” translates to “tomato.” If you don’t get how a tomato can help you do your homework, don’t worry; there’s a fun backstory to this simple but effective productivity method. A college student named Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to break his work up into 25 minute blocks, followed by a short break. The concept, originally devised in the 1980s, stuck, and this widely popularized technique is known as the Pomodoro Method today. Continue reading

“Finding Balance: A Few Tips From a Freshman” by Nicole Pinera

It’s 8 o’clock on a Monday morning, and the air carries the crispness of the impending autumn, even though it’ll be much warmer in a few hours—summer hasn’t quite given up the fight yet. I’m on my way to Caesar Rodney to get some breakfast, a much-needed cup of coffee, and a bit of work done before my first class, which doesn’t start for another hour or so.

It’s a Friday night, and I’m with my friend, watching old episodes of Spongebob Squarepants on a little TV in her dorm room in Redding. We talk and laugh and quote all the lines we know by heart—after all, we grew up watching this cartoon. There’s a container of peanut M&Ms open to snack on, and my favorite fuzzy blanket is wrapped around me like a shawl. In this moment, our worries about grades and upcoming exams fade away, just for a little while. Continue reading

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