While I would like to say the end of the semester feels like it is coming to a calm close, I must admit that it feels more like a high speed train racing towards a brick wall without any indication of throwing on the brakes. Just today we wrapped up my Landis Program, Meals at Third Street, with a Chinese inspired dinner and at the end it didn’t feel like it was real as I was saying goodbye to the mothers and children that we have grown to know over the semester.
I think it is a shared feeling among students that the semester literally flashes by our eyes in the midst of all of the events, midterms and assignments, changing weather patterns and long library nights. Most of the leadership positions that I hold on campus have reflection and self critique as part of the expectations, so as I am realizing that the semester is SO near to ending, I have been out to do these things for this semester.
It has been an experience unlike any other coming back from a semester abroad and transitioning back into classroom learning, a sedentary lifestyle and feeling generally comfortable and understanding of my surroundings and culture, whether or not I am happy with it at any given moment. It has been an amazing opportunity to practice patience and reflection as I notice things about my lifestyle and those of the people around me that annoy and concern me. While it was somewhat of a given while I was abroad in cultures so different from my own, I had never had to worry about that so much in a place that I called home.
One of my weaknesses has always been biting off a bit more than I can successfully chew, and this semester was once again no exception. While I was abroad I missed my extra-curriculars and the positions that I defined myself by so much that I literally couldn’t wait to return to them all. As I always tell myself however, accepting less responsibility and doing amazing things with it is better than accepting lots of responsibility and never fulfilling your wishes and dreams with any single opportunity. As I exit my junior year and enter my senior year, I am left reevaluating my true passions and the things that I want to be able to give my whole self too. I think this is a valuable life exercise for anyone to take part in, as ultimately the more you can fully dedicate yourself to the things you love, the more gratification and success you will find.
Lastly, I think a pretty common theme that I have touched on in my blogs is the importance of human connection and understanding. It was so easy to make real and meaningful connections with people while I was abroad because that was ultimately the goal of my entire trip, to connect and learn from new people. At school however, it is so easy to get wrapped up in your own world with academics and other things that we often forget to just sit down and listen to each other. This is the single most valuable learning tool that we have at our disposal, and frankly one of the easiest to access and use yet I commonly forget this. I can’t wait to use the summer time to cultivate many of the skills that I hope to use as I enter my last year at Lafayette (crazy!).
Try this link to see the heartbeat of the chick embryo! IMG_0173