As a Biology and Chemistry double major it’s hard to find time to take classes outside my major while sticking to my tight schedule (which has been planned since my first year). Luckily, I am also in the Honors Program where, as part of our curriculum, we are required to take upper-level colloquia which vary semester to semester. In the past topics have included: a TEDx conference on campus, “Italy in film,” and HBO’s The Wire. One of my favorite Honors courses, and possibly one of my favorite taken at Arcadia, is “Nature & Writing in the 21st Century.”
Throughout the semester, we studied authors like Thoreau and Kerouac, wrote short stories and poems, and spent a great amount of class time outside. One of my favorite spots on campus is a little creek that runs right behind the lowest parking lot (lovingly named “The Pit”) on campus. In the past I had taken water samples and observed invasive plant life for lab classes, but I rarely had time to relax and take in the beauty of the creek itself. During class I was able to step away from my struggles of trying to synthesis temperamental Aluminum potassium sulfate crystals in my Inorganic Chemistry class and immerse myself in nature.
By the end of my class in May 2013, and the creation of my final book of poetry From the Bench to the Stone, I was able to recognize that everything, nature and even inorganic compounds, had beauty. Stepping outside of my everyday routine, away from sitting at the lab bench and to sitting a large stone on the creeks side, helped to inspire and motivate.
Being able to put things in perspective and taking time to relax for myself is something I still do today amongst the craziness of thesis. If I find a spare few minutes on campus I still like to head down to the creek and watch and listen. Although I am extremely interested in my coursework and research, it is nice to take a break every so often and just let your thoughts wander. Getting a liberal arts education and exposure to many different fields has been immensely important in figuring out my passions, which extend beyond science and into the more social and creative realms, like craft brewing and tastings and creating beauty in social situations through science.