March 28, 2023

There were so many things that I wished to escape from. I wished for fresh air, safety and comfort. I wanted to be rid of the fear of someone following me home. I sought clarity and release. And honestly, after being on a campus other than Wittenberg for the past few weeks, I found all those things and more.

For those still wondering where in the world I am, I took a vacation, you could say. This semester, I am at Duke University Marine Lab (DUML) in Beaufort, NC taking classes that contribute toward my Biology major and Marine Science minor. I will also be conducting a research independent study with a professor to analyze the consumption of microplastics by fiddler crabs.

Being here the first week was undoubtably the spring vacation I was robbed of last year when the pandemic hit. Of course, it was in January, but here in the Outer Banks, it was a pleasant 50 degrees each day with the warm sun on your back.

Sure, it’s hard being so far away from my family. I think of them every single day. I talk with my parents often, and I am constantly in communication with my Wittenberg gang. On club Zoom calls, I find it difficult to not want to be there with them, but when I look up to appreciate the water and the wind, I know I made the best choice I may have ever made.

This past fall was so tiring, and I think many Wittenberg students can agree with me that the energy of the campus felt dark, draining, and like life itself was being sucked from your veins. The very air I breathed seemed toxic, so I often felt like needing a gas mask instead of an N-95.

However, at DUML, I feel like I’m the healthiest I’ve been in such a long time. I can actually motivate myself to go for a walk or even a run because it’s just too pretty not to be outside. Finding time, although, is difficult, due to the classes and labs running longer than normal, but I don’t mind. Just being in a different element is bringing my mental health upwards.

Lastly, I am so thankful for all those that helped push me to this point on my academic path. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

Here’s to a fresh start, Tigers! May your spring semester go smooth as sand.

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