Click. The rumble of boiling water sounds as the electric kettle goes off. I plop a bag of chamomile tea into my favorite blue mug, pour the steamy hot water over it, and indulge in the calming herbaceous aroma. I snuggle up with my tea and Kindle e-reader in a warm blanket on the armchair, which is tucked into the secluded alcove in the living room. My roommates and I have created a reading nook there, complete with a side table, a faux fur rug, and twinkle lights. It’s any bibliophiles’ ideal respite from a long day.
All is well until I’ve gone through my Kindle library and found nothing I want to read.
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”
I’d always seen this adage as a humorous brush-off for a particularly stressful situation or a blatant excuse to put off some pressing matter. But as we progress deeper into the spring semester, I’ve come to understand that this maxim isn’t about procrastination; it’s actually an incredibly useful mindset to maintain when going about your college days.
We’ve all been there: you’ve got so many tabs open on your computer that you run the risk of crashing the entire eduroam network. You set down your phone for a minute or two, only to pick it up again and see you’ve gotten upwards of 20 emails. The convenient ability of professors to publish every single due date on Canvas is simultaneously super helpful and the stuff of nightmares as your planner grows all the more incoherent with scribbled to-do’s and reminders.
Chewing your nails. Scrolling through TikTok for hours. Rampant perfectionism.
These are all bad habits, and even though they may not be yours, there’s always something we struggle with. It’s that little something that irks and irritates you when you think about it in retrospect, but you can’t help yourself when the cue comes.
Yep, there are cues to your bad habits! And in fact, there’s a lot more to your bad habits, and there’s a really interesting and simple way to overcome them!
But first, let me tell you about Sunday, March 6th, and a personal icon of mine, Julie Millisky.
I looked down at a box-like scientific instrument, called a transilluminator, glowing with ultraviolet light. On the viewing panel was the representative product of my whole semester of study: a single, floppy, square piece of polyacrylamide gel with a few blue-stained bands of proteins on it. An experienced laboratory technician probably runs several of these acrylic gels a week in a process known as SDS-PAGE, but this was the first time I ever did this technique myself. The Fall 2021 semester marked the beginning of my junior year here at the University of Delaware, as well as an exciting part of my course work in molecular biology: upper-level laboratory classes designed for hands-on learning. As insignificant as this gel was in the grand scheme of things, I still remember the accomplishment I felt at that moment and how the career path I had picked out my freshman year finally started to unfold before me.
It was a normal Winter Session-at-home sort of day, a cold, overcast Ohio morn’. All of my non-UD friends were already back on their respective campuses. My UD pals were hours away. Getting the mail had become the main point of excitement in my day.
As I searched the house for something — I don’t quite recall what — I suddenly heard myself saying, “Oh no, I left [insert mundane object] back home!”
But wait a second — I was home, wasn’t I?