Tag: growth

“Diagnose and Treat Bad Study Habits” by Alex Stone

This summer, I began the daunting and lengthy process of studying for the medical school entrance exam, or as most people know it, the MCAT. (Cue gasps of horror!) Scary, I know. I was nervous but excited to take this next big step in my academic career. When I had signed up for the exam, it was February and the start of the spring semester. My actual test day, which was at the end of August, seemed ages away. I took my time getting organized, finding study materials, and even purchasing a prep course—though not a necessity, it seemed like the right choice for me and my situation. While I did prepare for the many months of studying ahead of me, I was leaving my bad study habits untreated. 

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“Nearing the Summit” by Felicia Seybold

Back when times were simpler, I used to plop down on the couch with my Nintendo DS and my troubles would melt away as I became completely absorbed in catching Pokémon or destroying zombies with my botanic army. I had a tiny world in the palm of my hands, filled to the brim with memorable characters, dazzling worlds, and soundtracks that pull on my heartstrings to this day. Some time last year, I decided to buy a Nintendo Switch Lite for myself in an effort to replicate the simple joy I had as a child while playing DS games. I had acquired my Switch Lite at a time where I was at the end of my rope trying to survive a global pandemic and go through college online. Social media was no longer cutting it as an escape route; too often it bombarded me with the endless deluge of tragedy occurring every day, tiring me further when I needed rest. So, I decided to take a cue from my childhood, and once again plop down on the couch with a cozy video game rather than scroll mindlessly through my phone. Though I was turning to video games to forget my troubles, I could find myself relating to the struggles that my video game characters had to go through, and in some ways it helped me to cope with my own while in college. Out of all of the games that I have played, none has showcased this more than the game Celeste.

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“On Connections & Croissants” by Lauren Mottel

The morning sun greets you from its climb in the sky as you exit the train station, backlit by clear blue skies and seagulls circling overhead. You don’t even have to think as the click of your boots on the pavement guide you across the street to a small storefront with an orange awning. As you cross the threshold, an 8-bit rendition of “Für Elise” announces your presence to the display case of croissants, torsades aux pommes, chocolate muffins, and other treasured pastries. And there, before you and your friends can take a half-step further into the bakery, the owner excitedly walks out from the back kitchen exclaiming, Les filles! Bonjour, les filles! and ushering the cashier away so she can select our pastries for us with a grin. 

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“Living in a World of Canyons” by Raktim Basu

Spirals upon spirals upon spirals.

That’s what filled up Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon in Arizona. Water had rushed through, carving a swerving, graceful path of twists and turns that went on for hours of walking. Over millions of years, the rock had worn away, and the water had receded, making the perfect display of the strength of rivers.

That was just a piece of my trip into the Four Corners states (Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada). Before this spring break, I’d never gone anywhere except for Colorado, and I had never seen the deserts of the Midwest or the number of incredible canyons present there.

But from Bryce Canyon to the Grand Canyon, from massive and incredibly varied rock formation after rock formation, I began to see the world differently. All of my life in the U.S., I’ve lived in suburban areas, surrounded by concrete and ease of accessibility. But from hotel to hotel, with three-hour stretches of desert driving, without another soul on the road, I got a sense for how big the world is.

And let me tell you, it changes how you see things. Standing on the precipice of one of the biggest canyons in the world makes you feel small. The untold scale shocks you, and the unbelievable variety of what you can see in nature is just… Astounding! From patterns of yellow to bright orange, to rocky slopes topped in snow and coniferous trees, to gleaming formations of fire-colored rock — the marvelousness of nature is unparalleled, and to begin to describe the enormity of nature is an almost impossible task.

But that’s just the thing about experiences beyond words. They’re the true memories we will always have. While I know I can never share my love of the canyons of the Midwest with people and have it resonate with them to the same extent, I know that what I saw will stick with me forever. As Honors students, we get an incredible set of faculty, friends, and chances to explore the beauty of the world, both man-made and natural. But as Honors students, we also have an obligation to explore the things in the world that we can’t really capture with words and can only capture with rapture and awe.

So the next time you get the chance to explore the world, take it. Live in a world where everything amazes you. Don’t be afraid to see the world to its fullest extent, and if you don’t have words to describe what you take in, take it as a good sign!

“Aca-knowledging Little Victories” by Grace Kearns

If you found yourself on the second floor of Trabant Student Center on any Tuesday evening, you would think you had just wandered onto Barden University’s campus by mistake. In the cinematic masterpiece that is Pitch Perfect (2012), Barden University is home to four collegiate a Cappella groups. UD just so happens to one-up Barden with eight groups on our very own campus. 

As a first-year member of the MelUDees, I have yet to be in a Riff-Off or perform for the Obamas, and I (thankfully) have been spared from singing any horrendous mashups of “I Saw the Sign” and “Bulletproof.” However, to answer the question that all of my hometown friends and family first asked when I joined in September: yes, it is a lot like Pitch Perfect. I have lived some of the most iconic scenes in the movie, from the involvement fair, to performing gigs around campus, and even hanging out with the other a Cappella groups. My most movie-like moment so far, though, was competing in the International Championship for Collegiate a Cappella (ICCAs) last month.  Continue reading

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