Become an Artist of Life


One of last year's seniors (and a former DUWELL intern), Rose O'Connor, was inspired to write this blog in the spring of 2012, her last semester at Duke.  As we approach Thanksgiving time, it seems especially appropriate to consider gratitude and how to appreciate the small things in life...

My final semester as an undergrad has been my favorite. There are a number of reasons why I love spring semester, but I m attribute my current happiness to a course that I recommend everyone take: “Visual Adventures” with Antonio Bogaert.This class is not limited to learning how to use a camera. Instead our professor encourages us to be “artists of life.” We are challenged to reexamine our perspectives and make a stronger connection to the visual fabric of our daily surroundings. Homework in this class is stress reducing instead of stress inducing. One of our assignments is to practice writing simple thoughts of gratitude in a journal everyday, and that practice is what I want to share with all of you.

Duke students have crazy schedules but I think every single one of us can take just 10 minutes to begin or end our day with writing a few thoughts down in a journal.
Just take TEN MINUTES. That’s all! Start by writing out what you are grateful for. Don’t worry about all those fancy words and grammar you’ve been trained to adhere to. You don’t even need to use complete sentences. This is a chance for you to start appreciating the little things, because that makes the big things so much more manageable and even more enjoyable. Try this journal challenge and I promise your days will noticeably improve.

Below is one of the photographs I took for class. This small purple flower outside my house probably would have gone unnoticed had I not been willing to appreciate the beauty surrounding me. For truly fulfilling happiness this semester: write in a journal, pay more attention to your surroundings, and be an artist of your life.