Starting the Spring Semester with Self-love
The spring semester has officially begun, and we have all returned to Friartown ready to dive back into work. Or have we? Hopefully, you spent your break recovering from the fall semester, but regardless, you may be struggling with the return to campus. Research studies indicate that taking vacations can help reduce stress and have numerous other benefits. It’s important that you use your break time to get away from the stress of college and recharge before the next semester. You once again have time to enjoy your hobbies, read a book, or binge-watch that show you’ve been dying to see.
Although many of us are excited to be back on campus and see our friends, it can be a rude awakening to launch back into academics. The work seems to pile up quickly, and all that free time you enjoyed not too long ago instantly vanishes. It’s impossible for that refreshed feeling to stay with you for the whole semester if it goes unnurtured. It’s easy to say you don’t have time for self-care, but it’s just as easy to engage in quick activities that promote positive mental health and help keep you feeling refreshed. There are so many simple things that can be done that will help you both in and out of the classroom.
A relatively new technique to slow down the craziness of college life is referred to as nature bathing. This essentially means taking a walk out in nature. Recent psychological research has found that spending time in and focusing on nature helps both your physical and mental health. The research shows that nature helps reduce stress and anxiety as well as refocus your attention. If you feel yourself starting to get burnt out, take a break from the assignment and take a brief walk through nature and focus only on noticing the things around you. After your walk, you can return to your work feeling refreshed and ready to resume.
If it’s too cold outside or you’re looking for another way to refresh, there are other quick techniques that can save you from burning out. Mindfulness is another way to pause the chaos happening around you. While it’s understandable that not everyone wants—or has the time—to sit down and meditate, there are much simpler (and quicker) ways to go about this. If you truly feel you cannot add anything else into your schedule, add mindfulness to the existing parts of your day. Pay attention to the sounds you hear as you walk from class to class. This is one way to quiet your mind and refocus yourself. Additionally, there are quick mindfulness exercises to listen to while you’re in the shower. No matter what your schedule looks like, you have these in between moments that are perfect for a quick exercise.
If mindfulness really isn’t for you, you need to find what activity you enjoy that always leaves you feeling refreshed. One of the best forms of self-care is simply making time for yourself. Try to find some free time every once in a while to process the events of your day, talk to your friends, read a book, or watch a show. As college students, the days go by so quickly and we often focus on what’s next on our agendas. We need time to reflect on what we’ve done and reflect on the events of the day. If you leave no time to process, reflect, and refocus, this will inevitably lead to burnout. It’s important to set these good techniques now while we’re still in school. For the most part, when we enter the workforce, we don’t get a month off, or any extended breaks at all. It is important for us to learn now how to manage our time while maintaining our mental health and allowing us time for the things we enjoy. This is the time when you get to figure out what works best for you. Don’t waste this opportunity to learn how to help yourself; it goes by far too quickly.
Songs the Lonely Sing
by Madison Palmieri ’22
They are the ruffled wings of a little bird in flight,
The muffled songs the lonely sing as day turns to night.
The gentle tides ebb and, in turn, flow,
The crashing of the waves, with which their secrets go.
They are the aches and pains,
The jealousies and vanities,
They are love, tried and true,
The cascades of the ocean blue.
They are lullabies that’ve just begun
The madman’s murmurings heard by no one.
The shift of season, wind and rain,
As winter ends, spring begins again.
They are the times we feel we’ve won,
The day’s end marked by the setting sun.
They began when time was set to begin:
The mysteries of the universe, found within.
Girls With Honey-Colored Hair and Owl Eyes
by Taylor Maguire ’24
I watch as my friend Lena packs up for her semester in France. She lines up her wool sweaters and corduroy jeans in a color-coordinated fashion upon her childhood bed. It is very quiet in her room.
“I’m going to die alone,” my best friend Dewey announces, breaking the silence. He drapes his arms along Lena’s bedroom window sill, stretching his legs along the bay window. His eyes gaze around at the passersby on Pierrepont Street.
“Dewey, you are not going to die alone,” Lena says.
I open the window and light a cigarette.
“Piper was your first college girlfriend. The first girlfriend of many girlfriends that you will have. She wasn’t going to be the one that you married. Besides, I didn’t even like her and I like everyone,” I say.
There were a lot of things I did not like about Piper. Piper was the girl with honey-colored hair and big brown owl eyes. She was skinny as a twig, and she got into all kinds of parties because everyone knew her parents were rich. She gave cold, war-like glances to those she did not like, which was half the student body at NYU, and rejoiced in the attention given by those she wanted to be. She thought Led Zeppelin was an energy drink and Sylvia Plath was on our city council. But all that aside, she was simply a narcissistic, manipulative asshole and treated Dewey as an inferior. The thing about Dewey was that he got attached to the pretty face and his made-up ideologies of those he dated, but he never fell for the actual person. His romanticized imagination was his Achilles’ heel.
“Why do you think she did it?” he asks, looking over at me.
“Honestly? She was bored,” I say.
“Would you ever cheat?” he asks, taking the cigarette from my hand to smoke it himself.
“I think cheaters are cowards. Cowards caught between the security of what they have and going after the potential that remains unknown. Do I think hooking up with a boy on the soccer team at school was worth the price of your relationship? No. But girls like Piper only want things for image sake, for the stories to tell her friends at breakfast,” I say.
“I’ll never cheat on someone. Or be the person that another cheats on with. Being on the receiving end of it is too painful,” Dewey says.
“What I don’t understand is why you still want her back after all that,” Lena says, stuffing things into a suitcase that was twice her size.
“You didn’t know Piper as I did. Okay, so she didn’t read the newspaper or take the subway, and she was a little daft at times. But she would make her side of the bed in the mornings before leaving, and she’d send me website links to jackets she’d thought I would look good in. And she texted me on my birthday, and on our anniversary, ” he says. I watch as he struggles to defend what he wants to believe is true, which is that Piper cared about him the same way he still cares about her.
Lena lets out a sigh before saying, “Dewey that’s the bare minimum.”
The sad thing was that Lena and I have had this conversation with Dewey many times over the dwindling days of August since they broke up. Every time she’d get brought up, Dewey would try to work backwards and analyze what he did wrong, why he wasn’t good enough. He was trapped in a rabbit hole of his regrets and doubts. At the end of the day, he was just too entranced by Piper’s owl eyes to see the red flags that she carried around with her.
To The One Whom This Is For
by Sarah Heavren ’21
Thinking of days gone by,
That this started
With the blink of an eye.
Before I was ready,
Somehow I knew
By some way at some time
I’d be with you.
You were the first to listen
And the first to enjoy
The witty and clever
Humor that I deploy.
Through many a pun,
It is true,
My heart you have won.
No matter what they say,
I will never deny
That I love all the puns
Of my sweet, punny guy.