186 South College

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

Tag: Blue Hens (page 1 of 15)

“Start Moving This Semester!” by Jenny Gloyd

For me, this semester is strikingly similar to the last. I am excited to continue living in Redding, to travel up to the same beautiful corner of campus every week to sing in my choir, and to dive back into some general chemistry—I strangely missed the challenge of it! Despite the comparability between my two semesters at the University of Delaware, there has still been an adjustment period this time around. This is the time to ask myself, “Do I want to approach this semester the same way as the last?” My personal answer to this question is that surrendering to the same routine would be outright boring. Among tweaked study habits, new involvement in clubs, and other little improvements, the best decision I have made this semester is to START MOVING!

I have decided to stay active this semester. I was on the cross country team all four years of high school and loved it, so why not start running here at UD? As of now, almost every day of the week I lace up my sneakers and head out on a running trail—my favorite so far has been running on the trails on North Campus. Continue reading

Minding your Mind by Sarah Blum

I cannot remember a time when starting a new year of school or a new semester did not stress me out. There is actually a picture of me on my first day of kindergarten SOBBING because I was so scared to go to class. I would love to go back and tell that kindergarten me that she had it good, but I digress. School has always been synonymous with stress for me. I was determined to challenge that idea before spring semester started, and now that we’re a few weeks in, I have to say – things feel different. I don’t look at my calendar and see a bunch of daunting due dates staring back at me or toss and turn all night thinking about how much work I have to do the next day. I wish I could tell you that I flipped a switch and suddenly I wasn’t stressed, but unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that. There were no switches or magic spells, and I don’t think there will ever be a time when I can say I’m not stressed at all. But, I have learned that stress can be managed by being a little more mindful.

I have never been one for the idea of meditating. I’ve never been able to turn my mind off. Sitting in a quiet, dark room and concentrating on my breathing for a half hour sounds traumatic to me. How can anyone think about breathing for that long? But, I was talking to a friend about my outrageous stress levels last semester and she suggested mindfulness meditation. I was about to laugh, because like I said, meditation just didn’t seem like the move for me. But this friend always seemed so calm and collected, so I figured I should have whatever she was having. When I actually took the time to listen to what mindfulness really was, I found that it was pretty simple – and it made sense.

Mindfulness is pretty meta. I am sure there are more professional definitions out there, but to me, it’s really just taking a moment to be more aware of yourself and your position in the world. It’s almost like another sense or a state of mind that, once you’ve practiced, you can tap into whenever you need to. The reason that it’s so great for stress is that it allows you to ground yourself in the present. You know that feeling when you have a research paper and 3 exams and 4 meetings all within the span of a week? Mindfulness allows you to take a step back from that and not get overwhelmed. It’s like a little voice that says, “Sure, you have a lot to do, but you can handle it.” Not everyone’s stress is the same of course, but mine mostly manifests itself in worrying about the future instead of thinking rationally. My mind will spin for hours, coming up with more things to be anxious about. Mindfulness brings me back to reality just long enough for my brain to process everything and come up with a realistic plan of action instead of worrying relentlessly for hours.

The really great thing about meditation and mindfulness, as I’ve learned, is that as long as it works for you, there’s really no way you can do it wrong. I have tried to meditate before, but I would get so hung up on being “good” at it that it never worked for me. The whole idea behind mindfulness is that it can be as simple as taking a deep breath, or closing your eyes, or counting to 10 in a moment of cognitive overload, as long as it brings you back down to earth. That being said, when I was just starting out, I found that guided meditations were really helpful. You can find these anywhere, from YouTube to meditation apps, my favorite is called “Calm.” I think the best way for anyone to start would be to take a few minutes before bed, turn on a guided meditation, and try to turn your brain off for a few minutes. Guided meditations like these are great for me because they don’t require any thinking and they force me to focus on something other than my own thoughts. Instead, I can focus on the guiding voice which is usually enough to bring my brain back to its scheduled programming. Usually, it’s just a matter of focusing on your breath and trying to relax your muscles (you’d be surprised how tense your muscles can be.)

You might be reading this and be thinking “no thanks,” and that’s fine. Meditation isn’t for everyone. However, I used to think it wasn’t for me, and now its something I use nearly everyday to some capacity. I think the biggest misconception people (and myself in the past) have about meditation is that it needs to be done in a certain way. In my opinion, whatever calms you and allows you to center yourself can be considered meditation. You don’t need a dark room with a bunch of candles and Gregorian monks chanting in the background. Just take a few moments to breathe and be present every once and in a while.

“Artes Vita: Touching Up Your Work Flow” By Abhigna Rao

HI EVERYONE! WELCOME BACK! I hope everyone had a lovely, restful Winter Break, whether you were taking a Winter Session, chilling at home, away on vacation, or studying abroad!

But now it’s back to the grind, and I can’t be the only one who’s feeling a tad bit overwhelmed with the impending hustle of the next twelve weeks. It’s only been three weeks into the spring semester, and I already feel like the rustic bricks of Old College are being thrown at me.

Nevertheless, how we handle the pressure of achieving a healthy work-life balance is fully within our control—if we develop the right mindset to do so. One of my objectives for personal growth this semester is to really work hard to stay on top of my academics and activities, and I want to share with you some of the strategies I have been using in order to do just that. Continue reading

“Completing my English Degree” by Amanda Langell

As the semester comes to a close, I find myself in a nostalgic, uncharacteristic mood.  Four years ago, I was just trying to survive my first finals week as a stressed-out, overwhelmed freshman. It sounds cliché, but I have no idea how time has moved so quickly, and now I’m concluding my last ever fall semester as an undergraduate. My best friend and I met for lunch today and we couldn’t believe how much we have grown since we met on move-in day at Redding. It feels like a lifetime ago, yet it also feels like yesterday. I have a feeling a lot of clichés will be thrown out in this post, but I can’t help it.

I came into college declared as an English major, not knowing much beyond my passion for reading and writing. Despite some looming doubts and outside voices, I trusted I would figure out my path eventually. Over the past years, I took literature classes that excited me, creative writing classes that bettered me, and English classes that just sounded fun. I became a member of the Writing Fellows Program, a writer (and now editor) for this blog, and an editor of Caesura, the campus literary magazine. I also added history as a second major and worked extremely hard to balance two of the most writing-centric subjects offered at the university. Sometimes it was a lot, but I made it out alive. I successfully increased my passions through my education and will leave UD this upcoming spring as a better student and a better person. 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

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