The last time I was asked to write a reflection for the newsletter, I was in an entirely different place in my life. The semester had just ended, and I traveled home to Vermont to spend time with family and reflect on the past year and things that were going on in my life. While my reflection last time focused on family, today -- years later -- I find myself thinking about time. The beginning of a new semester is the perfect opportunity to reflect on time, as I hope you had a chance to spend cherished time with family and friends over the winter break. And of course, as we start a new year and semester, that time together feels as if it already passed way too quickly.
On a personal level, I’ve found it funny how people always tell you when you are struggling, “time--it will just take time; everything gets better with time.” I would often think to myself, “if one more person says ‘time’ to me, I am going to scream!” As it turns out, they were right, and I have learned that with time wounds heal, attitudes change, and circumstances improve dramatically. My hope is that students begin to learn these lessons about time through the support of community and the resources available here at Duke.
This discussion of time also gives me the chance as an advisor to address one of the biggest struggles I see students face: time management. As a college advisor, pre-health advisor, major advisor, and faculty in residence, I see students struggling with trying to balance all of the things they have to and want to do. Let’s be honest, most of us struggle with this: the balance between work, family, play, etc. How many times have we stopped and said, “if there were only more hours in the day”? Duke students have so many resources available to help them figure out that delicate balance. One of my go-to resources for students at Duke is the Academic Resource Center. The ARC helps students with addressing study habits, time management, sleep issues, and balancing all the experiences that are available to them. It’s just one of the amazing resources at Duke that supports your students in all of their endeavors.
For all of you, the beginning of the new semester also marks some milestone in your student’s academic career. Just yesterday, I was walking up the stairs of Wilson House to my apartment while one of my residents was running out the door. I stopped for a quick chat to ask how break was. She paused for a second, said it was great, and then added that it had gone by “way too fast.” I smiled and said, “you’re halfway through your first year!” She shook her head in disbelief and ran out the door. Whether your student is halfway through their first year, halfway through their college experience, or just one semester away from graduating, I am sure their time at Duke has gone by too quickly. I hope that you and your students take the opportunity to enjoy the remaining time you have at Duke.
Happy new year to you all and best of luck with the upcoming semester.
Christopher P. Roy is Associate Professor of the Practice of Chemistry at Duke University.