Be Here Now

Be Here Now

How my promise to myself for the next few years was inspired by Andrew Jillings.

Since moving into Hamilton College less than two weeks ago, the Class of 2020 has been talked at a lot. I guess it comes with the territory of being freshmen and going through orientation, but the ambush of words have definitely gone over the heads of myself and a lot of my fellow students. We've come close to falling asleep during the plethora of lectures, we've dragged our feet on the way to Wellin Hall, we've sat there trying to discreetly, or not so discreetly checking our phones and snapchatting our new friends who are also forced to sit and listen when we mostly just want to nap.

The talks we've received over the last week have been filled with a plethora of information and tips about maximizing our time here on the Hill. The advice has been endless, but there was one talk that truly resonated with me, and hopefully with the rest of my class-and no, it not the terrifying fire safety talk that had us all running to check the posters in our dorms to be caught up on evacuation procedure. It was one of the few talks we got from Andrew Jillings, one of the leaders of the entire orientation program and the outing club.

This particular talk was the first of several given by Andrew Jillings, and by the time we were sitting down in the Field House, the air was so heavy with humidity and the threat of thundershowers, it was the end of possibly our longest day on campus-move in day- and everyone was probably wishing for just a couple of free moments to relax and decompress.

He started by acknowledging that he too hated having to keep us cooped up inside, but stressed the importance of paying attention for the crucial rules of orientation week, particularly for our Adirondack, Exploration, or Outreach Adventures. Perhaps eliciting the most laughs and really securing the attention of the crowd was the rule "No loss of life, and no gain of life."

While that last part definitely lightened the mood and engaged the crowd of tired, new students, it was what came towards the end of the talk that really stuck with me the most out of every talk we've sat through, and what has motivated me throughout the entire orientation process, and what I hope will continue to inspire me and motivate me and the rest of my class. Andrew looked at us and said, "What I hope the most for all of you is that you can just be here now."

Be here now. Three simple words that seem like common sense but is so important to remember. He continued with something along the lines of, "I wish that we could all stick our fingers into the ground, this earth. I wish we could reach through the grass, dirt, and mud and be here, in Clinton, New York, and just be here now." These are the words that have been the most inspiring throughout a jam-packed week of advice and lectures meant to guide us. Those three words are the ones that have been stuck in my head.

What makes the phrase so powerful, to me at least, is the truthfulness and the importance of staying aware and engaged as we start these new lives, especially in the age of technology. It is so, so tempting to stare at our phones all day to use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook or to constantly Snapchat, text, call, and Facetime your best friends, significant others, and families back home.

And I'm not saying don't call your parents and cut off everybody from home-please call your parents. It's just incredibly important to focus on being here now. Now is the time that we'll develop bonds and lasting friendships with the people around us, now is when it's crucial to learn your way around campus, now is when it's important to figure things out with your roommates and develop new schedules. Now is when it's important to be here now.

And with the hundreds of promises we've heard from the administration and older students-that we're sitting among our life-long friends, that we'll be safe in any emergency situation, that the opportunities of a Hamilton education are limitless, that we can study what we love and be who we are, that we will survive without our iPhones during our Adirondack, Outreach, and Exploration Adventures; I think it's important that we make some promises to ourselves for the next four years. And not just the cheesy, New Year's Resolution type promises like eat better and actually go to the gym. We should make a meaningful promise to ourselves like never holding back you true personality, being unapologetic about our passions and the pursuit of our passions, and testing new things outside of our comfort zones.

My personal promise to myself, though, is to be here now; to embrace my surroundings with open arms, to try my best to not obsess over my phone, to be present with my classmates, and to just be here now, in Clinton, studying at Hamilton College, digging my fingers into the ground and establishing a good life here at Hamilton, focusing on the present.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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