186 South College

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

Tag: Honors Memories (page 2 of 2)

Comfortable

I specifically remember listening to National Public Radio when I was seven. It was the first dose of purely American news I ever fully digested. We had lived on a military base in Stuttgart Germany for the past three years. Military orders and a few moving trucks brought us to south Texas, a place that served patriotism super-sized. Audibly famous radio reporter Don Gonyea explained the items on the menu. It was NPR talk that made me realize my mother was incredibly different from her military wife counterparts, a unique inhabitant of one of the reddest states in the nation. “Liberal” and “primary” were words I sprinkled into family dinners before I knew their precise definitions. Morning Edition played when I got ready for school, Car Talk was always on after my soccer games, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me made my dad laugh.

[Later on that year?] When I was in the second grade, my mom purchased John Mayer’s first album, Room For Squares. The tracks of that album became the background music of my early years on earth. If it wasn’t filling our Volvo, it was emanating from our home stereo system. If it wasn’t available for play, it was hovering on the surface of my mother’s lips and vocal chords. She thought he was a genius. “Have you heard ‘No Such Thing’? This is a kid who was a total nerd in high school and look at where he is now.” By the age of eight, I knew every word to every song on the album. Heavier Things dropped in 2003. In my mind, it was the work of a musical god. I went so far as to debate one of my carpool drivers on the merits of the track “Split Screen Sadness”. Mrs. Scheffler found it too poppy, while I found it catchy and a unique departure from his previous work. I was a third grader. By the time Continuum came out, I was a fan of unparalleled devotion. I considered “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” to be the greatest song of all time.

I started watching Friends when I was ten, a consequence of the Dugan household’s very first television and antenna. We had a grand total of ten public channels. One played episodes every weekday night from 9:00 to 9:30 pm. My mother made this discovery before I did. And despite the fact that most of the references were over my head and that it was a relatively late hour for television, she let me watch. When she felt guilty about some sexually explicit comment that no doubt confused me, her signature phrase was “Remember, this is just a show. Real life isn’t like this.” But I hoped that it was. I wanted to live in a well-decorated New York apartment with a crazy neighbor and a crew whose lives were so entertaining that national audiences found themselves laughing.

Some of the time, I find myself acting as a cultural nomad. My iTunes contains both dirty rap and bluegrass, my closet holds studded black tank tops and cashmere cardigans, my bookshelves hold works by JK Rowling and Ralph Ellison. But more often, I find myself referencing NPR stories, scrolling through artists on my iPod until I reach John Mayer, and quoting Friends. I know them well. I can identify reporters by their voice alone, I know every word to every song, and I consider myself one of the gang.

My preferences aren’t something I give much thought to. They so heavily involve my past, something I rarely consciously reconnect with. I prefer to think of myself as living fully in the present, so on top of everything that I am already planning for the future. In my mind, nostalgia is for the weak, and so I convince myself that I am repressing it, that I don’t experience it. Music gets me from one point to another and the news makes me an informed citizen and television keeps me entertained. I like to think of my tastes as dynamic, current and automatic, growing up just as I do. But they aren’t.

The most significant aspects of my personal preferences involve comfort. I associate Robert Seagull with weekend family pancake breakfasts. The conversation topics of the Central Perk Cafe made me laugh with my mother and the first friend I made in Catholic middle school. John Mayer released Battle Studies when I was in a huge fight with my friends and Born and Raised 12 days after the sudden death of my godfather. My life has been a series of transitions, changes, instability, the pillars of a Navy brat. Constants were and are rarities. And while the news of NPR can be biased, the humor of Friends is juvenile, and the music of John Mayer is vanilla, I don’t have to try to like it or understand it. It is worn in. It is safe.

Change of Plans

 

Throughout my senior year of high school, I couldn’t wait to see where I would end up spending the next four years of my life. After touring a multitude of campuses I was so eager to just get the process over with so I could finally move to the school that I was destined to attend: Boston University.

 

Obviously fate had something else in store for me because I’m not in the historic city of Boston with all its glory, but in humble Newark, Delaware. When I pictured myself at college I didn’t even consider a green, suburban campus that isn’t located in the heart of a major city. I saw myself bustling to class amongst “hipsters” and filmmakers and photographers and not actually waiting for the walk sign to legally cross the street.

 

Financially, Delaware was the best choice for me so I thought I’d give it a try. Everyone I know from high school who attends UD loves it, so it couldn’t be that bad. However when I first moved into Russell last year, I couldn’t really find my niche and I wasn’t loving my major so I actually thought of transferring schools.

 

One day during winter break I was scrolling through my photo albums and realized that I was laughing in almost every picture. I’ve made incredible memories with kids that I’d only known for a few months and realized that I’m not going to find relationships like that anywhere else. College isn’t about the name of a school or the image a school gives you, it’s about what you make of your experience and opportunities in any situation you’re put in. My impatient self didn’t realize that all the qualities I was looking for in a college were directly in front of my face the entire time.

 

The moral of the story is that we find happiness where we least expect it. It’s not always about the big picture, but it’s the little things like laughing with your roommate about her sleep-talking or admiring how beautiful the sunset looks from the window of your dorm that make you appreciate the place that you live. Looking back I feel crazy to have ever thought of leaving this university that I’m proud to call my home. To all you new Blue Hens out there: if you don’t absolutely love it here at first, give it a semester. I can almost guarantee that you’ll fall in love with everything about this campus just like I did.

Yet another striking sunset at a UD football game

Yet another striking sunset at a UD football game

~Ashley Bostwick

 

A Memo to Freshmen: What I’ve learned

It’s amazing how a simple conversation can quickly bring you back to a significant moment. Today was my last day at one of my internships this summer, and another intern / fellow Blue Hen told me that he was excited to help his younger brother move into his freshman dorm. We started reminiscing about our own freshman move-in days, and laughed at how both of our dads had to drag our moms away from campus because they were lingering and about to cry at the idea of leaving their “babies.”

I remember the day I moved into Russell -the “old” home for Honors freshmen- clearly. Yet in two weeks, I will begin my senior year of college! Even though those three years went by incredibly fast, I recognize how much I’ve grown.

Therefore, as a senior who doesn’t like the finality of that title, I offer the class of 2017 congratulations, a warm welcome, and a little UDHP-specific advice on how to make the most of college!

1. Consider taking an Honors class in a field you know nothing about it. Don’t just stick to Honors classes for subjects you know you’ll ace, because you could discover new interests and talents.

2. Befriend your Munson Fellow! I held this position last year when it was called “Russell Fellow,” and I can’t stress enough that these Honors upperclassmen genuinely like to help their freshmen.

3. Even if you love each and every person on your dorm floor, be open to friendships with other people. Not only will your friends from English class or yoga club be a welcome reprieve from the inevitable occasional floor drama, they’ll introduce you to their own dorm friends! Seize every opportunity to reach out to new people.

4. Appreciate your fancy new lodging and air-conditioning.

5. Engage with your Writing Fellow. Sure, I’m biased because I am a WF, but each and every one of the Writing Fellows really is excited to help their tutees’ ideas come alive on paper. Still, we can only do so much with a so-called reluctant tutee, so come to your conference excited about improving your writing.

Most important of all, relish every moment, because before you know it, you’ll be thinking that Taylor Swift totally misrepresented the age of 22.

~Ruby Harrington

In the Blink of an Eye…

“Don’t blink.” A line from Doctor Who, stamped across t-shirts and quoted religiously by fans everywhere.

 

“Blink and you’ll miss it.” A tried and true saying one particular friend of mine uses on any occasion she can find.

 

“The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye; the story of love is hello, goodbye.” A Jimi Hendrix line: one that suddenly seems all too relevant as I find myself down to the single digits of the remainder of my summer vacation.

 

I don’t understand. I’m a Whovian, a quoter of old sayings, and a music lover. I heard the warnings. Summer seemed to be sidling leisurely across my calendar pages, spent reading and sipping iced coffees… But somehow, I must have managed to blink, because the past three months have sprinted by at almost breakneck speed. I think I see Hendrix’s point, because I seem to recall a post earlier this year about how quickly it seemed my college career overall was going, only to find myself halfway through it. More recently (say, last week recently?), I blogged about turning twenty, and how two decades could pass so quickly without my noticing.

 

It seems I’ve been doing more blinking than I thought.

 

So, in an effort to retrospectively slow down (Time Lady, remember? The ability to slow down or speed up time comes with the fabulous wardrobe and the little blue box), this post will be a sort of highlights reel of the summer. We’ll also all be on the same page when we’re all back on campus in less than two weeks!

 

From the end of classes until mid-June was a glorious block of time, which consisted mainly of lounging around on various, comfy surfaces in my house, catching up on my shows and my blogs and everything I’d neglected at the end of the semester. I honestly would not underrate this time at all; to say I was whipped past the point of cream by the end of last semester would be generous. Then, I started interning with Cambridge five days a week; I gave my weekends to my other job: cashiering at Staples during back to school season.

 

I’m beginning to understand why those six weeks in particular are a blur.

 

Throw in learning how to Snapchat like a professional (thanks to siblings Allie and Christopher) and preparing for choir auditions (happening on the day I return to campus), and you’ve pretty much got my summer. Oh, and turning twenty. Best not to leave that out.

 

One night in particular, though, is sticking out in my memory, and upon which I’m going to base the upcoming semester: a late evening at Applebee’s with the ladies from my Girl Scout troop. People I’ve grown up with and still love to bits.

An Applebees reunion with some the above described Girl Scouts- all grown up!

An Applebees reunion with the above described Girl Scouts- all grown up!

 

This semester, it’s all about the Girl Scout life: be your best and stay focused, but remember to keep up with the people you love.

 

And don’t forget the cookies.

 

See you on campus!

~Claire Davanzo

 

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