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!).
I’m the type of person who thinks way too much about things, whether that be about decisions I make or about media I watch or listen to. Funnily enough, both of those aspects of myself fit together perfectly, because the past two weeks I’ve had working on the Harrington Theatre Arts Company’s recent production of the show If/Then. If you weren’t able to catch it, the story of If/Then focuses on Elizabeth and two timelines branching out from a single decision: one where she chooses to go with her newfound friend Kate (who calls her Liz) and one where she chooses to go with an old college friend Lucas (who calls her Beth). That single decision has a huge effect on her life as well as the lives of her friends and acquaintances. People who may meet and fall in love in one may never meet at all in the other, all because of a single decision. I, like many people, also tend to think long and hard over the possibilities that are presented in life’s choices; there can be advantages and pitfalls to such overthinking, but there are of course ways that media such as If/Then explore how one can overcome all of those pitfalls.
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.