Time flies! I’ve been meaning to write my reflections for some time now, but between packing, driving, unpacking, and re-packing, I haven’t found the time till now.
Hmm, where to start…?
From the perspective of classes: I had a dichotomy of study techniques. First semester, I studied with a group (Angela, Visakha, and Kristina) in the Link for many hours of the
day night. Second semester, I studied exclusively by myself (mostly in the Tower, sometimes in K4). Grades turned out very similarly for both semesters, so I can’t say which was a more effective study technique. But psychologically speaking, there was a major difference. Constantly working in a group stressed me out. I always felt like everyone else in the study group had already finished assignments that I hadn’t even e-printed. Additionally, I constantly felt behind in life-plans. Which brings me to learning point number 1 (and one that I’m still working on):
(1) Focus on the work that I need to do rather than what others are doing.
Noelle took a big step in her life when she decided to rush DST. Her life was completely consumed by rush during the first two months of spring semester, which left me completely alone. I was annoyed at first. I missed my roommate. Missed having someone to chat with about the day’s events. Missed my study-break snack time buddy. But like all (or most) things, I grew used to it and began to really appreciate having the room to myself. It highlighted aloneness. (Aloneness meaning not being in the same physical space as another human being.) Prior to this year, aloneness was mostly relegated to an hour a day: trail time. But having aloneness for 5+ hours a day illustrated what it means to have human connection.
Aloneness is like being hungry. A little bit of hunger is good for you. But being hungry for too long can take a toll on one’s mental and physical state. The hallways up to the 5th floor of Kilgo echo, and my attention would be piqued if I heard noise in the stairwell. If I had been alone for a particularly long amount of time, I found myself hoping it would be a visitor. Just to see someone—to chat/joke/check hw answers with someone—could satisfy the hunger I had for human connection. So I would like to say thank you to all the visitors who took the time to visit despite all of the stairs. I guess what I’m trying to say can be summed into learning point number 2:
(2) Aloneness brings a sense of clarity of who I am amidst the rapidly changing college atmosphere. At the same time, it reminds me to appreciate having human connection (here and now).
(Side note: I think our society has a problem with experiencing aloneness. We’re almost always surrounded by others. If used like the 21st century’s 20-something-year-olds, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. can guarantee that we’re never “alone.” This is for another post though.)
The last major thing I want to touch upon is the subject of break-ups and changing. While Danny & Oriane and Mike & Jen became Danny, Oriane, Mike, & Jen this past semester, I was much more affected by D&O’s separation. I ended up
talking listening to Danny a lot more (and learned way more about their relationship than I would have liked) even though I completely understand Oriane’s reason. (And if I had to take sides, I would be on Oriane’s side…) We’re so young. We’re still changing. There’s no guarantee that someone is the same person they were six months ago, let alone 2 1/2 years ago.
I tried to be a good friend and listen to Danny whenever he came, although there were several times when I really wanted to shake him out of it (and tell him to get over it). I know that recovering takes time, but hanging on would have only made the fall longer and harder at a later point in time. Thank goodness he is finally coming to terms with their separation. One thing this whole ordeal made me aware of was my lack of patience. Awareness (and room for improvement) point number 3 is:
(3) I am not a very patient person. Hearing about how dependent someone is on another person is confusing to me. (See above side note on aloneness.) It was frustrating in that I couldn’t fully explain to Danny that he first needs to be ok with himself before he can be in a relationship. At the same time, this made me aware that I really need to work on being more patient.
Ok, now I’m happy that I was able to get these thoughts down in writing. It’s about time for bed. But before I go, here are some other random things I’m thankful for:
-The conversations and meals I shared with friends and classmates
-Duke Forest trails
-Finding a mentor
-Finding my favorite spot on campus
-$0.25 Refectory biscuits
“…but I see the impossible every day. Impossible is trying to connect in this world, trying to hold onto others while things are blowing up around you, knowing that while you’re speaking, they aren’t just waiting for their turn to talk — they hear you. They feel exactly what you feel at the same time that you feel it. It’s what I strive for every time I open my mouth — that impossible connection.”
-Hiroshima by Sarah Kay
|Me:||I usually work on Teer 07. If that fails then 17, 27, or 37.|
|Andrew:||I usually work on 43. Hm, I've never actually visited it.|
|Me:||So you spend a lot of time with 43, but have never actually seen it?|
|Andrew:||Like Te'o's girlfriend.|
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” —Mister Rogers
In the midst of the carnage following the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday, people came together to do what they could, even when it put them in danger. Here are some examples of the good to take the edge off the horrifyingly bad.