Take a Hike

College can be stressful: overwhelming workloads, new friends, and new places. I have always been accustomed to knowing someone, or better yet someone knowing me, everywhere I went. I was used to always seeing a familiar face, a feeling of security and calmness everywhere I would go. Something was missing from my daily hustle and bustle of college life, and it finally was revealed to me through a video called This is Water.


As part of orientation before classes started, the freshmen class watched a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace. After watching this short video I was really intrigued. From the message of the video, and then to our class discussion after, it truly was both an informative and thought provoking speech for our new class to take with us on our college journeys.


There were many philosophical and deep discussions, but what I ultimately took away from This is Water was to be aware, look up, and realize that everyone has their own stories and the world is a beautiful and magnificent place. We all have our bad days, every single one of us, but it’s how we combat these negative thoughts and realize the world doesn’t revolve around us, when we truly apply this message of awareness.


After our class discussion on the speech, our professor gave us something else to take away, a place where we can get away. He said to us, “Take a hike!” What most, including me were thinking was, “Where? We go to school in Philadelphia?” He then explained to us about The Merion Botanical Garden, down Lapsley Lane, where you can sit and hear the wind rustle through the trees and the water gently flowing.


A place like this can take you away from campus, away from your stress for just a little while. Though, the Merion Botanical Garden doesn’t have to be the only place for a stress-relieving break. I find that sitting down, making a cup of tea, and just reading blogs helps me. Sometimes it’s an activity that takes me away, going for a run or a nice walk, and listening to some of my favorite calming playlists.


It is imperative to not get stuck in a rut doing the same mundane tasks day in and day out. Switch it up, talk to someone new, meet a friend for lunch, watch some Netflix! By taking a break away from the world you become more focused, ready to tackle that lengthy to do list. It is important to realize when the stress is building up inside of you, but it is also important to take this fact into account with other people. Someone may have an outburst, or not hold the door open, but remember to take into consideration their story. Remember This is Water, and know that everyone has a choice, happiness is a state of mind.

Posted in: About SJU, Campus Landmarks, Faculty

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