I’ve been meaning to write my reflections for some time now, but between packing, driving, unpacking, re-packing, re-unpacking, and just general craziness (and laziness on my part), 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. Working 24/7 with a group of people 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, mostly because I missed having 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. One of the greatest benefits I drew from Noelle’s absence was 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 resulted in forced introspection as well as highlighted what it means to have human connection.
Aloneness is like being hungry. A little bit of hunger is good, but being hungry for too long can take a toll on one’s mental and physical state. While I did appreciate and probably needed this time to think, I also realized that I naturally crave human interaction, especially on Saturdays when (on the very worst days) I might go up to 8 consecutive hours of working by myself. (Mountain-side hermit is definitely not on my list of possible future professions.) Even just working next to one other person–not talking, just working–creates a completely different environment. Learning point number 2 (a work in progress for next year):
(2) Find a balance between working with people versus working by myself…aka find a healthy amount of aloneness time.
Ok, now I’m happy that I was able to get these thoughts down in writing.