186 South College

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

Tag: honors (page 1 of 3)

“Pigs 101” by Erin Jackson

I never expected to show up to my first day of my senior capstone class and receive a laptop sticker and a light-up key chain from my professor. Both of these souvenirs were in the shape of a pig, and the pig even had the quote “Pigs are cool” emblazoned on its side in all caps, mirroring the message my instructor left us with at the end of her introductory email. For context, I am majoring in pre-veterinary medicine, and the course I am enrolled in for my senior capstone is entitled “Swine Production.”

In this course, we are split into small groups entirely responsible for the care and well-being of a pregnant sow. We are expected to be there when our sow gives birth, which in pig jargon is called “farrowing,” and are henceforth responsible for the health of her litter of piglets. Essentially, this class is the culmination of all the courses I have taken throughout my college experience. I do not think I ever actually recognized how much I was learning while I was learning it. I took classes freshman year that built on my high school knowledge. Sophomore year, I took classes that built on my freshman year knowledge, and the pattern continued on into junior and senior year. Somewhere along the way, I managed to build quite a foundation of knowledge regarding animal health without realizing that it was happening. Learning can be funny that way – you may learn something for the first time, and then hear about it again in various forms throughout a multitude of courses, all the while not realizing how your understanding of it grows each time you learn it. Another way that I have discovered just how much I have learned up to this point is in my ability to share it with others. In the Honors section of this course, each senior Honors student serves as a mentor for a couple of freshman Honors students. We introduce them to our pigs and invite them to watch the miracle of life, which may include Ubering them to the barn at any hour of the night and letting them cut some umbilical cords if they are lucky. We update them on what we learn in lecture about various aspects of swine reproductive physiology and health concerns, and we introduce them to what it is like to be a pre-veterinary student at UD.

Sometimes I forget what is normal to talk about at the dinner table and what I should refrain from saying around my less animal-inclined acquaintances. I have found that some people just get it, and others do not. To engineers, a capstone requires a project where you are building something; to wildlife conservation majors, the course involves writing a personalized management plan. These seem to many students more of the conventional paths to follow in taking the quintessential course of one’s college career. I am thrilled that my experience has been so much more. Not only am I given the respect of being charged with an animal’s quality of life, as well as her fifteen to twenty-seven children (the accurate range of litter sizes within the class), but I am also allowed to open this course up to my friends and family, as well as the public, to educate them on relevant issues in animal health and welfare. Our teacher encourages us to educate any guests we bring to the barn on what we have learned, and I had the time of my life bringing my family in to meet my pigs this weekend. They even got over the smell enough to hang out with me for an hour, likely to experience in person what I have been bombarding them with in pictures for over a month now.

This class has challenged me on multiple levels. Piglets do not live a life of luxury, as cute and playful and seemingly perfect as they seem. Not all of them even make it into the world alive, and the ones that do must overcome enormous odds to make it to the stage of weaning, even with thirty eager pre-veterinary students tending to their every need. This morning I faced one of the hardest parts of the class thus far when I had to say good-bye to my sow. Our teacher told us not to get attached to our sows, even encouraging us to name them after a food product coming from pork so that we would not forget where they were going after our class. However, it was obviously not that easy. While it was hard for us humans to bid farewell to the first and likely the largest production animal we had spent the last month of our lives bonding with, the piglets were fine. Their mother had been their main and vital source of food for their entire lives, and all of a sudden she was replaced with a bucket of grain. Some of the piglets responding by diving for the grain instantaneously, while others took advantage of the increased space in their crate to run around and play. This response was another unexpected learning experience I am grateful for in this course.

I am going to be devastated at the end of this course, and not just because I’ll have to say goodbye to the first nine lovely beings that I saw brought into this earth. This class marks the end of an era in my learning; I have come full circle, even mentoring the freshmen whose same shoes I stood in only three years ago. And I have not made it here alone. My major and future career are built on reliance on others, and I will never not be working in a team. I have traveled throughout my undergraduate experience with largely the same group of individuals, and sharing this final experience together is making me nostalgic in a way that represents how I feel about college coming to an end. I know I will continue to bond with people the only way I know how: over a shared love of animals. While I will miss this course and the friends in it, I will carry with me the lessons learned and many adorable pictures of pigs for the rest of my career.

“Appreciating the Tough Times” by Nicole Pinera

As another semester slips away, I find myself wishing that time could slow down but also go faster all at the same time. There are so many challenges that I wish I didn’t have to deal with, like managing my time or dedicating myself to studying. Ask anyone who knows me decently well and they’ll tell you that I need to get more sleep, and I can say that I haven’t been going to the gym nearly as much as I was in the first few weeks of the semester. My coffee consumption has probably overtaken my water consumption, and CR’s desserts are an unfortunately addicting source of quick energy. The textbook readings that I still need to do seem to be piling up, and my last round of exams looms ever closer. Even this blog post is overdue. (Sorry again, Hayley!) Despite the relative lack of order in my schedule, I still feel like I’m not doing enough — I don’t have enough to show for all of the work that I have done, and I could definitely be doing more. Everyone else seems to be managing their busy schedules, so why can’t I?

One thing I’ve learned, as I’ve gotten more involved on campus, made closer friends, and taken on a more rigorous academic schedule, is that you have to learn to love every moment, otherwise you’ll quickly burn out. There will be late nights and stressful exams, regrettable dessert choices and the jitters from that last cup of coffee. But there are also the good times, like when you finally cross that last assignment off in your planner and know that you can have the rest of the night to binge watch movies with your friends. The feeling of finally, finally understanding how to tackle those tough chemistry problems, the satisfaction of a good workout on a Saturday morning, the feeling that you’re a day closer to being the person you’ve always hoped to be… these are the things that I’ve come to realize that I have to focus on. Staring down an ever-growing list of things to do is daunting, sometimes even terrifying. But every little challenge that you overcome makes you stronger as a person. 

Particularly this semester, I’ve realized that I’m not the person that I used to be. I’ve grown in so many different ways since coming to UD, and if it weren’t for the good times and the bad times, I wouldn’t have made those personal gains. Along with my own growth, I’ve also reached out more to the people in my life for support. As High School Musical so eloquently put it, we’re all in this together. Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses, and I’ve found that my friends and peers have built me up where I struggle, and I’ve done the same for them. For example, having several extroverted friends has pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me more comfortable with putting myself into new situations and meeting new people. There have been so many opportunities that I probably would’ve missed out on if it weren’t for that. If all I saw were the difficult times, how would I ever come to appreciate all of the good things that have come from those challenges? 

Image obtained from: https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/5244024-happiness-can-be-found-even-in-the-darkest-of-time 

“Sustainability on Campus” by Lorraine Capenos

As an environmental studies major, I think about sustainability a lot. Probably more than most college students, anyway. That being said, I’ve noticed that many of us college students struggle to implement environmentally friendly practices into our busy, hectic lifestyles. Many people don’t know where to begin, and even when students know better, they often find it difficult to choose the most eco-friendly choice because it inconveniences them or just slips their mind. That being said, there are many practices I’ve found to be pretty simple and easy to make a bit of difference and reduce my environmental impact.

First things first: you have to get educated. My first semester here at UD, I didn’t realize plastic bags couldn’t be recycled. Sure, I knew Ziploc bags had to be thrown away, but I didn’t realize that you couldn’t take your recyclables to the dumpster in a trash bag or they would be thrown away instead of recycled. This is because local recycling centers don’t have the machinery to process plastic film, so grocery bags and trash bags can’t be recycled. Other things, like batteries and food waste, can contaminate recycling, causing it to end up in a landfill, so be careful to only throw things out that you are sure can be recycled, and make sure they are clean when you toss them. Michelle Bennett, the UD Sustainability Officer, recently told one of my classes, “It seems counter-intuitive, but if you aren’t sure whether it’s recyclable, please just throw it in the trash,” so as not to contaminate the recycling. 

Reducing the waste we produce is also important, since recycling isn’t an ultimate solution. I take reusable bags with me to the grocery store and try to reuse jars and containers from foods like pasta sauce to store things like pencils and stationery. I have even reused jars as pots for small houseplants like succulents. I try to buy minimally packaged and ethically-sourced food when possible.

Additionally, I am conscious of my carbon and water footprints and try to reduce consumption of both. Part of this comes from eating a plant-based diet, which is less resource-intensive than eating animal products. It also comes from reducing time spent showering and running faucets, using cold water to wash my laundry instead of hot, turning lights off when they are not necessary and using natural light instead, and reducing the amount of air conditioning and heating I use.

The next step is one that is helpful when living on a college budget: reducing the amount I buy. Consumerism runs rampant in our society, but we don’t necessarily have to give into it. Instead of buying a new dress for every upcoming formal event, I ask my friends if I can borrow dresses they have already worn. I don’t buy clothes I don’t need and try to keep a relatively minimal wardrobe. I repurpose everything I can, and if I’m not using something, I take note of it, so I don’t buy a similar item again, and then I give the item away to a friend. I only make purchases that I have thought out for a while and know I will get a lot of use out of. This has not only saved me money, but it has also lessened my environmental impact by conserving resources and reducing my contribution to industrial pollution. 

Finally, transportation is a huge part of carbon footprints. I try to walk to class as much as possible, and if the weather is bad, I’ll take the bus. I carpool to the grocery store with housemates. Otherwise, I try to avoid driving and taking Ubers, since it is not only resource-intensive and polluting, but also expensive.

I still have a long way to go when it comes to sustainability, but I’ve learned that taking it one small step at a time is manageable and can become second nature. The environment benefits, and I save money most of the time. I would urge others to not only implement these steps, among others, but to also get educated and involved with environmental activities and policy in the local area. After all, the Earth is our home, and we only get one.

“New Year, New Campus” by Jenny Gloyd

One of the reasons I chose the University of Delaware was for its campus. It is just the right size and has a cohesive and collegiate feel. The trees that line the long brick walkways and the historic buildings you pass along The Green make my experience here better. I love to show off the school when friends come to visit, and I’ve noticed that it is almost unavoidable to compare our campus to theirs; the restaurants, dorms, and academic buildings are all up for discussion, but what seems to be the most drastic difference is the size of the school and the commute students have to make. To friends from smaller schools, like UMBC, the walk to classes we are used to every day is shocking and tiring. In the same amount of time I can make it to Morris Library they could walk the entire length of their campus!

This year, in moving from Redding Hall to Sharp Hall, I now feel like I can have this conversation with myself. Despite my original expectations, changing where I live has made the University of Delaware feel entirely different. When I moved into Sharp Hall, I figured it would not be too much of a transition, that a dorm was a dorm, that I would never mind walking to Cesar Rodney Dining Hall, and that the slightly shorter walk to classes on The Green would not make much of a difference; I even refused to follow others’ leads when they chose dining plans that offered more points and less swipes in anticipation of purchasing more in Trabant (directly behind our building) than swiping in at CR (about a 10 minute walk.) 

 I quickly realized that not only would I miss newly built Redding Hall along with its integrated central air, large hallways, and considerable amount of study rooms, but I am now farther from the Harrington Pod, the Hen Zone, and CR. I miss being able to take a quick study break to play ping pong at the Hen Zone, and it takes a lot more motivation to grab a quick lunch or dinner at the dining hall. 

This is, however, a tradeoff. I am now closer to Trabant and my classes on The Green. 8am classes are made much more pleasant when there is not a mile-long walk to dread. I also have discovered Trabant as a good place to sit and study, and find myself taking full advantage of the new late-night meal exchanges on campus now that I am 5 minutes from a Chick Fil A. I also cannot tell you how excited I am that my 20 minute walk to choir rehearsal is cut in half!

Changing my home on campus has changed how I live at the University of Delaware, but it will not change my appreciation for a walk along The Green or a journey up to beautiful North Campus. I am happy that a change in location has forced me to have a new perspective, and it makes me look forward to switching up my experience within these 2000 odd acres over the next three years. 


“The Anatomy of a College Freshman” by Lauren Mottel

Picture this: the sun starts to peek out from the horizon, casting a warm glow on the autumn leaves, and a golden light trickles in through the window as you open your eyes, stretch, and sigh, basking in the warmth. You have a feeling it’ll be a good day today. You hear birds chirping, and—well, actually, they don’t sound all that pleasant anymore, each tweet getting louder and more jarring until—

Your 7:30 alarm is going off, causing your roommates to stir. The warm glow you were basking in was just the lamp you left on from last night’s study grind, and it’s, in fact, incredibly dreary and bleak outside. You stumble out of bed and attempt to get dressed before your 8:00 AM lab, only to make it halfway across the Turf to realize you left your lab goggles before sprinting back and to your class, furiously skirting around slow walkers so as not to be late. 

We’ve all been there. 

In fact, this happened to me within the first couple of weeks of classes, and while I was working on the biology lab, it had occurred to me that despite taking plenty of science classes throughout high school, I never took anatomy. I completely missed out on the cliché high school biology experience. Therefore, I took it upon myself to study anatomy independently during this first semester—the anatomy of a college freshman, that is. 

The Brain

Here we see reduced serotonin levels prompted by a failed attempt at time management and severe lack of sleep (see: midterms). College is a big adjustment that should not be underestimated; it requires a lot of mental and physical energy in adapting to living in dorms and navigating your schedule to find a balance between academics and hanging out with friends, and that’s not even taking into account dealing with being away from family, even if you do live locally. It’s important to recognize when your neurons get especially fried and to take the time to distract your brain with other things, like listening to music or watching The Great British Bake Off

The Heart

Despite the bags under your eyes that are so heavy they’re considered checked luggage by TSA, there is a love of learning and ambition to excel that drive everything you do. Pursuing higher education is no small feat, and in remaining passionate enough in a field to make a career out of it, you’re beginning to take the first steps into the stages of adulthood. This is further upheld by the love and support of your family and friends as you embark on such an endeavor.

The Hands

The hands of a college freshman can be found either desperately hitting snooze on 7:00 AM alarms or timers for in-between class naps, feverishly texting the group chat about an online quiz, or mildly shaking from drinking one-too-many cold brew coffees, sustained by the Caffeinated Quartet of Dunkin’, Starbucks, Peet’s, and Caribou Coffee. Regardless, your hands are what allow you to create, network, and stress-bake your way through life.

The Stomach

Among the most common things that come up in conversation when talking about college is the dreaded Freshman Fifteen, and with constant access to UDairy at the dining halls with an unlimited meal plan, this is proving to be quite the problem. With Caesar Rodney, Russell, the Harrington Pod, and Perkins all within walking distance from Redding, eating habits can quickly take a turn, but with there sometimes being an awkward hour break between classes or ungodly long lecture periods, you have to make the most of the time you have so as to carry on throughout the day. Regardless, nothing can stop us from running to Russell late at night to satisfy a sudden ice cream craving, and we have no shame.  

The Legs

It’ll be a crime if your quads and calf muscles aren’t incredibly toned from walking up the four flights of ISE every day or booking it across the Green en route to Purnell, and pray to the gods if you ever have to trek up the stairs at Willard. The lactic acid that is constantly coursing through your muscles every day is enough to work off any calories consumed at CR. The legs of a college freshman go through so much in walking everywhere that by the time they actually get in bed, they’ll be numb from a long day’s work. 

The Feet

The feet of a college freshman heavily endorse taking the path less travelled by in this new stage of life. Whether it’s finding a shortcut in your daily route to class to cut back on walking time or simply trying something new, the best memories are made in the shoes with the most worn out soles, and the quicker that college freshmen implement that into their daily lives, the more memorable of a college experience they’ll have. 

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