Category: Ruby Harrington (page 1 of 4)

TBT: “Small Wonder” by Ruby Harrington

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, let’s revisit Ruby Harrington’s Spring Break from March 2013 and the charms of a stay-cation.

UD students are enjoying spring break, a short reprieve from exams, papers, and busy schedules.  My break is off to a good start, but it’s different from past spring breaks in that I am spending it in beautiful Wilmington, Delaware, rather than the Orange County, California town where I grew up. Last summer my parents finally fulfilled their desire of returning to the homeland – aka the East Coast – so I am now a Delawarean.

With such established residency comes a bad driver’s license picture, a love for Capriotti’s “bobbie” sandwiches, and a deep appreciation for the state that detractors label, “Dela-where?”.  While a big draw of UD is its relative proximity to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City, Delaware itself has its own charms! Today I’m sharing some hot spots in Northern Delaware, (all pretty close to Newark), for when you desire an off-campus day trip.

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Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: The Gym

Earlier this semester, I wrote on the blog about the beautiful new “Carpenter Sports Building,” aka Little Bob (aka I just call it the gym). I’m still impressed with this new facility, but also with how well attended it is – I love that the greatly increased capacity has encouraged many more people to work out. However, I know there are still some holdouts out there – may I venture to call them anti-fitness hipsters? Well, I can commiserate – I used to be one of them. Having never been particularly athletic growing up, I was skeptical of the gym and its magical powers everyone talked about. However, just in May I started working out, and surprisingly, haven’t ever really stopped. This persuasive piece is dedicated to all those who need a little inspiration to go to the gym!

It’s great people watching. Though I have an especially designated workout playlist on my iPhone and watch CNN on the elliptical screen, the gym is akin to the airport in that it’s just interesting to see the huge variety in who comes to work out. Every once in a while I see two guys who look like they’re straight out of Duck Dynasty – camo athletic gear, beards, the whole shebang. There’s also usually random children…can’t really explain that one. But everyone’s there for the same purpose, and no matter how much effort you put into putting together a cute workout outfit, everyone is sweaty after a good workout. See, the gym is a great equalizing force!


Going to the gym becomes a lot more appealing when your fitness facility looks like this!

But actually, no one is secretly mocking how you exercise. My view that everyone going to the gym was an Olympic athlete used to keep me from exercising, but – while I totally admit to casually people watching – most people, myself included, are too focused on their workout or worried about how sweaty they look to actually notice the details of your workout. No one cares if you’re running slower or lifting less than they are – there’s just an indescribable sentiment that everyone is there to get in better shape, whatever that means to them, so people are not nearly as judgmental as you might think.

Eventually, you’ll feel great.Is it hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym those first few weeks when it hurts like heck and you’re sore afterward? Definitely. Is it worth it to continue? Of course! Most people would agree that the worst part of getting in shape is adopting a routine. Once you’re used to exercising regularly, you’re so (healthily) addicted to the endorphins and confidence exercise gives you, it’s practically impossible to stop.  


No more excuses! See you at the gym!

~Ruby Harrington


What the Kids are up to Today (Social Media)

Our generation has been called, among other titles, “the social media generation.” It’s hard to dispute this label, because most of us spent a good deal of time with accounts on social networking sites in our formative teenage years. However, the social media landscape seems to have shifted, and here’s what I think about the three dominant social networks right now.


Maybe it’s just me projecting my own hopes, but I feel that as we grow up, we start to realize that it’s not beneficial to spend so much time crafting a purposefully modified version of ourselves. We realize it’s equally detrimental to form a perception of others based on their online profiles, rather than their real-life personalities. To Mark Zuckerberg and the vast majority of college students who use Facebook, I hope this doesn’t offend. I’m currently off Facebook, but I’ll admit I haven’t deleted my profile, just deactivated it. I guess that makes me a hypocrite! And don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook can be a great medium for keeping in touch with friends, planning events, advertising, etc. However, on the person-to-person level, I do feel like Facebook has become a social network dominated by proclaimed achievements, one that makes it too easy for users (myself included) to sit and criticize people they knew years ago in high school. Wow, that rant made me feel old.


I have mixed feelings about Twitter. I personally don’t tweet very often- maybe once a week, and usually that is a retweet of something I found important and funny. I actually prefer to use it to follow interesting people, entertainers, news sources, etc. It’s a great forum for, say, the rapper Macklemore to post information about his new music videos, concert tickets, appearances, and more.

However, Twitter makes it easy to post thoughts instantly, which has the ability to offend people or make the tweeters themselves look thoughtless. Also, while Twitter is a useful way to inform the public about stories as information becomes available, I do think it has increased the media’s tendency to report on stories before they even have the basic facts, out of an urge to be the first to “break the story.” This really damages their credibility.


My inspiration for this post came from a conversation with a friend. He’s just a year older than me, and we were discussing how people our age generally still have Facebook profiles, but don’t use them nearly as much as they used to. Then he told me that of the freshman high school boys he leads in a church group, just 2 of 15 have a Facebook profile at all – their preferred social network is instead Instagram. I found this really interesting, especially since I just set up my own Instagram account a few months ago. I personally prefer this social media site to all others because it is simpler and less cluttered with advertisements, and visually it’s more appealing to look at photographs (many enhanced with the infamous filters) than photographs amidst tons of text. Of course, there’s the fact that hardly anyone posts a photo depicting something awful that happened to them that day or the particularly unappetizing meal they had for dinner. In my opinion, social media will always lack authenticity, but then there are posts like these that make you realize its ability to portray almost any aspect of the human experience:

~Ruby Harrington

From Russell to Writing…


(Disclaimer: I was not asked by anyone in UDHP to write this! I’m just very happy with this activity and would encourage any invited students to look into the WF program!)

This title probably made no sense at all, but something like “My First Round of Writing Fellow Conferences” likely wouldn’t have caught your attention. Here at 186 South College we love to share our personalities and this time in our lives even when it’s not directly related to college, UD, or UDHP. This week, however, I’m discussing a specific Honors Program activity I am involved in, the Writing Fellows Program. Get it, I was a Russell (Fellow) last year, and now I’m a Writing (Fellow)?! Yeah, not my best.

The Writing Fellows (WF) are a group of UDHP juniors and seniors selected and extensively trained to serve as writing tutors to Honors first-year students in all colloquia and some Honors English 110 courses. The wonderful Mr. Peters oversees this program, and teaches all students selected into the program in a semester- long seminar class focused on theories of writing and tutoring writing before they become official WFs. Because colloquia and E110 courses are mandatory for all Honors freshmen, Writing Fellows encounter a broad variety of majors, interest in writing, and comfort with writing among their tutors.

As referenced above, I recently finished my first round of Writing Fellow conferences (tutoring sessions with our assigned students). I knew I was prepared, but it was still a little nerve-wracking. However, after a few conferences it became clear to me that not only do I enjoy being a Writing Fellow, but that the job helps to develop some important professional abilities. The WF training class was great at refining my own writing and critical reading skills, but so far in my short WF career, I have especially seen how the conferences improve my interpersonal communication skills.

Especially in the first round of conferences, we’re encouraged to talk to our tutees about where they’re from, their majors, how their college experience is going, etc. I’d like to think that these conversations made a difference because they made the tutees feel comfortable and less scared of an upperclassman who is (constructively!) criticizing their papers. It was exciting for this Southern Californian to learn that just among the nine students I am tutoring this semester, one is from right next to the tiny Connecticut town in which I have family, and another is a San Diego native! Furthermore, establishing a rapport is hugely important in creating an environment in which the tutees are receptive to suggestions, and willing to converse with me about their concerns with and goals for their papers. I’m sure this skill will be immensely useful as I prepare to enter the workforce! In short, the Writing Fellows Program is a great asset of UDHP, both for tutees and Writing Fellows.

~Ruby Harrington

Ruby Reviews the Renovations


These freshmen don’t know how good they’ve got it…UD has unveiled some pretty amazing renovations and brand new buildings this fall. While I’m so jealous that the Class of 2017 gets four whole years to enjoy them, I do appreciate that I get one. We can all agree that the renovations are stunning improvements, but here’s my review.

Little Bob (The Carpenter Sports Building) – The gym expansion was probably the most hotly anticipated among the changes to the UD campus. I started going to the gym at the end of junior year (it’s never too late to start), and looking back on it the amount of cardio equipment available then was incredibly inadequate for a school of 16,000 undergrads. The new gym is gorgeous, with a ton of fancy new machines that I have no idea how to use and will probably never know how to use. Nevertheless, I highly endorse the elliptical machines with built-in TVs! My only complaint is that there are not enough lockers.

ISE Lab (Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Lab) –  As a Political Science major, I probably can’t fully appreciate this entirely new “194,000-square-foot facility [which] brings together students and faculty from various disciplines to teach, learn and conduct research in a collaborative environment,” as the UD ISE Lab website states it. I’ve heard that the lab classrooms are pretty amazing, though. Much of the first floor is a huge open study space with couches, tables, and of course Einstein Bagels; I think this area is perfect for studying and especially meetings.

Alison Hall – It seemed like this academic building was under renovation for years. It still looks like a high school inside, but a much nicer high school! However, I am not at all a fan of the new furniture in the classrooms. The desk-chair combos on four wheels are very unstable, and it always feels like you’re going to accidentally knock into a neighbor when you sit down.

Redding Hall – I recently visited this brand new freshman dorm, which mostly houses Honors freshmen, and it was all I thought it would be and more. This is probably the renovation I am most jealous about, because I lived in the Honors freshman dorm last year as a Russell Fellow – meaning I just missed out on a huge room in Redding by one year! Russell was already pretty nice, but from the countless spacious lounges to huge hallways to a kitchen with an island, it’s safe to say Honors definitely got a dorm upgrade with Redding. Enjoy it while you can, freshmen!

The new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building

What’s your favorite UD renovation?

~Ruby Harrington

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