Riverside sunset
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View of a sunset and Dartmouth's Campus behind the Shattuck Observatory

I've examined the ideas in this post through a few different lenses since I started writing this blog a year and a half ago, but I want to emphasize this: your time at Dartmouth will go by lickity split. Sometimes it feels like you're just whizzing through life and one day you wake up and say, "wait a minute…. how did I get here?" It's easy to get caught up in the intricacies of college life – especially grades, your social life, and extracurricular activities. I must admit, I've always been a sort of "pick yourself up and dust yourself off" kind of person, meaning that you just push through the difficult times and get ready for the next one. I don't think this is particularly useful in college, and I think there is a much better way to keep your mental health in check. Self-reflection has been immensely beneficial for me during my time at Dartmouth. It helps put things in perspective and ground you, and it's a skill I've learned over time.

Pictured above is my favorite place on campus – an area just beyond the Shattuck observatory where you get the most picturesque view of campus. There are trees all around, sunlight glistening through the branches as the day softens into the night. It's the most beautiful picture I could ever imagine on a college campus, and it's the perfect place for me to self-reflect. Lately, I've tried to go here on the weekends to write in my journal and reflect after a long week. I think about the good and the bad things that happened, acknowledging how I did the best I could on an assignment and remembering all the things I've done to get to where I am today. I sit on a small boulder as I listen to the crows behind me in the forest. Then, I remember just how beautiful and simple life is, or, at least, should be. Whenever I get stressed over the "little" things in life, I go to this place to remind myself that it's all going to be okay.

As I stand up, I listen to the wet snow wither beneath my feet, and I stroll back down towards campus with the reassured confidence that I'm a kindhearted, loving person who deserves to be happy in life. I remind myself of these things because I've found it very easy to get bogged down in all of the self-imposed ideals I've put on myself since I started college. Often times I find myself stressed over things that I've over emphasized, and it's useful to remind myself that, at the end of the day, the most important thing is for me to be healthy and happy; nothing else goes above those things. Self-reflection is a way to keep yourself in check during times where life seems to fly right past you. It allows you to stop, contemplate, and restart your mind. I challenge you to find your place as I've found mine because it's truly powerful. Self-reflection is a skill I've learned over time, and it's something I truly hope you take seriously!

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