Category: Lorraine Capenos (page 1 of 3)

A Healthy Mindset during Social Distancing by Lorraine Capenos

I’m sure no one planned to experience a global pandemic during their college experience, and I’m no exception. Especially since it’s my last semester here at UD, social distancing has really thrown a wrench in my senior plans, and sometimes maintaining a positive and healthy mindset can be challenging. It can be easy to sink into disheartening thoughts about the state of the world and the unfortunate fact that I’m going to miss out on some experiences I was really looking forward to. When these thoughts and feelings come up, I take my time to feel them out and process them, understanding that my emotions and experiences are valid. That being said, I try not to dwell on them and remember to keep things in perspective. I choose to practice gratitude, taking time to appreciate the blessings I have in my life, and acknowledging that this is difficult for everyone but that I am safe and healthy, which is a privilege in itself. I believe it is important to find a balance, accepting and processing your feelings, while still maintaining perspective and gratitude.

I have also chosen to practice patience and forgiveness with myself, when I am low-energy or when I am not as optimistic or productive as I want to be. This is an unprecedented time period that most of us weren’t prepared for in the slightest. It is difficult to adjust your life on that large of a scale. Human beings are social creatures, so it is normal to feel a little blue when you can’t socialize with your friends in person for months. Add to that the monotony of quarantine and losing out on senior activities, and it’s understandable that I have had little motivation lately. So, I am being patient and flexible with myself, since being harsh on myself would likely get me nowhere and just make me feel worse. Instead, I am taking things slowly and allowing myself the time I need to process things, even when I am not being “productive” according to certain standards. Continue reading

“My Most Valuable College Lessons” by Lorraine Capenos

Here in my last semester at UD, I find myself doing a lot of reflection about my time spent here in college. It has been a long journey filled with highs and lows, and so many learning experiences. I have worked very hard to push myself out of my comfort zone and grow as much as possible. That’s what these years are for, right?

Some lessons I’ve learned have been little, like the necessity of tidying your room and the importance of getting enough sleep. Other learning experiences have been bigger, such as the value of confrontation in relationships and how vital it is to put your own needs first.

These last few years I have met so many important people: people who impacted me greatly in a short period of time, and people who I know will continue to grow with me and teach me lessons long after graduation. Of the lessons I have learned from others, these are the few that stick out:

  • Don’t judge a book by its cover (this one seems intuitive, but some very important people have proven this to me, time and time again).
  • Some people will not be in your life for long, but you will carry their lessons with you for the rest of your life.
  • Every single person you meet is an entire universe. We all have strengths and weaknesses, moments when we feel like heroes, and moments when we feel like the bad guys. Caring about someone is sticking it out with them.
  • Some people will resist your growth or try to hold you back because you are changing too fast for them to keep up with. Not everyone will understand the decisions you make. Do what’s best for you anyway.
  • How other people act toward you is usually more about themselves than about you.

Continue reading

“Why and How I Decided to Graduate Early” by Lorraine Capenos

Throughout high school and my first year of college, I always intended to spend four years getting my bachelor’s degree. I had no intention of graduating early; I hadn’t even given it any thought. A couple years later, I find myself approaching my final semester in college, before I graduate a year early with my bachelor’s degree in environmental studies with Honors. I stumbled upon the possibility of graduating in three years rather accidentally, as I was sifting through my degree requirements and preparing to register for classes for sophomore spring semester. As I planned out which courses I would be taking during which semesters, I found myself stuck. I didn’t have any classes left to take by the time I got around to my fourth year. The moment I realized this was right about the moment I started talking to my parents and advisors about graduating early. And then it just kind of happened. And now I’m graduating early.

There are a few major factors contributing to my early graduation: Continue reading

“Sustainability on Campus” by Lorraine Capenos

As an environmental studies major, I think about sustainability a lot. Probably more than most college students, anyway. That being said, I’ve noticed that many of us college students struggle to implement environmentally friendly practices into our busy, hectic lifestyles. Many people don’t know where to begin, and even when students know better, they often find it difficult to choose the most eco-friendly choice because it inconveniences them or just slips their mind. That being said, there are many practices I’ve found to be pretty simple and easy to make a bit of difference and reduce my environmental impact.

First things first: you have to get educated. My first semester here at UD, I didn’t realize plastic bags couldn’t be recycled. Sure, I knew Ziploc bags had to be thrown away, but I didn’t realize that you couldn’t take your recyclables to the dumpster in a trash bag or they would be thrown away instead of recycled. This is because local recycling centers don’t have the machinery to process plastic film, so grocery bags and trash bags can’t be recycled. Other things, like batteries and food waste, can contaminate recycling, causing it to end up in a landfill, so be careful to only throw things out that you are sure can be recycled, and make sure they are clean when you toss them. Michelle Bennett, the UD Sustainability Officer, recently told one of my classes, “It seems counter-intuitive, but if you aren’t sure whether it’s recyclable, please just throw it in the trash,” so as not to contaminate the recycling. 

Reducing the waste we produce is also important, since recycling isn’t an ultimate solution. I take reusable bags with me to the grocery store and try to reuse jars and containers from foods like pasta sauce to store things like pencils and stationery. I have even reused jars as pots for small houseplants like succulents. I try to buy minimally packaged and ethically-sourced food when possible.

Additionally, I am conscious of my carbon and water footprints and try to reduce consumption of both. Part of this comes from eating a plant-based diet, which is less resource-intensive than eating animal products. It also comes from reducing time spent showering and running faucets, using cold water to wash my laundry instead of hot, turning lights off when they are not necessary and using natural light instead, and reducing the amount of air conditioning and heating I use.

The next step is one that is helpful when living on a college budget: reducing the amount I buy. Consumerism runs rampant in our society, but we don’t necessarily have to give into it. Instead of buying a new dress for every upcoming formal event, I ask my friends if I can borrow dresses they have already worn. I don’t buy clothes I don’t need and try to keep a relatively minimal wardrobe. I repurpose everything I can, and if I’m not using something, I take note of it, so I don’t buy a similar item again, and then I give the item away to a friend. I only make purchases that I have thought out for a while and know I will get a lot of use out of. This has not only saved me money, but it has also lessened my environmental impact by conserving resources and reducing my contribution to industrial pollution. 

Finally, transportation is a huge part of carbon footprints. I try to walk to class as much as possible, and if the weather is bad, I’ll take the bus. I carpool to the grocery store with housemates. Otherwise, I try to avoid driving and taking Ubers, since it is not only resource-intensive and polluting, but also expensive.

I still have a long way to go when it comes to sustainability, but I’ve learned that taking it one small step at a time is manageable and can become second nature. The environment benefits, and I save money most of the time. I would urge others to not only implement these steps, among others, but to also get educated and involved with environmental activities and policy in the local area. After all, the Earth is our home, and we only get one.

“What It’s Actually Like Living in a Sorority House” by Lorraine Capenos

Hi, my name is Lorraine Capenos and I live in a sorority house here on campus. And it’s surprisingly pretty normal.

Before I joined a sorority, I definitely had an idea in my head of what sorority girls were like. Movies and TV shows usually depict sorority houses as party venues or homes to intense, insecure, competitive girls who seem more like enemies than friends. They’re usually giant mansions filled with dozens of excitable girls.

But this hasn’t been my experience.

First, I don’t live in a mansion. The house I live in holds 15 girls but feels smaller than it sounds. It’s pretty similar in facilities to any other UD housing and is right on campus near other housing. It’s nice, but nothing crazy or fancy.

Second, we don’t have parties here. I can’t speak on behalf of other sororities, but our house is not a party venue. The girls who live here are more than happy to host visitors and chapter events like brunches and Airband preparations, but at the end of the day we have homework to complete and Zs to catch. We like to live in a clean, presentable house where people can have fun but still respect the fact that 15 girls are living in this house.

Third, sorority girls are just normal girls. There is nothing intense or competitive here. Mostly we all just want to get through the days with as little drama and as many smiles as possible. If other students can handle living in dorms, they can understand living with 14 housemates. At least we only have to share a bathroom with our suite, as opposed to the whole floor.

I have found living in my sorority house incredibly rewarding. In fact, I’m doing it again next year. It is an amazing way to get closer with others in the chapter, including the other house girls, but also everyone in the chapter who comes to the house for various purposes. I never walk to events or chapter meetings alone, and I’ve gotten to know many people better who I might not have otherwise had the chance to spend time with.

I have also enjoyed being in a location central to the chapter because I don’t have to go out of my way to attend certain events or help out the chapter. While some people may have to cross campus to get to the house, I just have to walk downstairs. I feel very in-the-loop in the chapter and I have many opportunities to be involved.

The logistics of living in the house work out nicely, as well. It’s similar, if not lower, pricing to other UD housing, free laundry, a nice kitchen, good location, and we can call facilities whenever something breaks or malfunctions in the house. We are far away enough from main campus to get some separation from classes, but still close enough to walk, and we have a bus stop nearby for days when the weather is less than optimal.

I would recommend living in a sorority house to anyone looking to get more involved in their chapter in a pretty low-commitment way, make lasting friendships, find a convenient place to live on campus, and have the ability to socialize and have private time in the same house. If you’re considering living in your chapter’s house, don’t let stereotypes dissuade you. Look more into it and take the opportunity if it presents itself.

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