At college, it is very hard to find a place of peace and quiet to call your own. Whether it is in the cafeteria at 6:00 during the dinner rush, between classes when students are scrambling to get from Fontaine to Donnelly or in my own Residence Hall, there are always people around.
My residence hall is my living space, but there is always noise in the hallways and I live with a roommate. While she is a great roommate, I know that the room is not all my own. Despite this, I needed to find a place to clear my head. I am a contemplative person who likes to sit, clear my mind and think every once in a while, mostly to keep myself from overstressing and going insane. After living at Marist for a little more than one semester, I came to the conclusion that my peaceful place isn’t necessarily one location.
In the early fall, bored of my room, longing to be outside on the beautiful Autumn day and bogged down with homework, I grabbed a towel and my books and headed outside in search of a place to sit in the sun and relax while reading my psychology textbook. I didn’t walk more than a few steps outside my residence hall when I found the perfect place; outside of Leo Hall, up a very small hill is a big green with trees. The wonderful thing about this area is that there is very little foot traffic because it’s not on the way to any residence halls or academic buildings so it was unbelievably peaceful. I picked my favorite tree, threw my towel down and read a chapter of my book before deciding I just needed to take in the scenery and everything around me.
For me, it’s so easy to forget to relax. I’m awake at 5:45 most mornings for crew practice and I usually don’t get to sleep until midnight –or later- and I fill my day with classes, studying, activities, friends and clubs. Sometimes I forget that I just need some time for myself to think, unwind and relax. It was on that Autumn day that I finally remembered to take care of myself and enjoy where I was at the moment.
Once winter set in, my patch of green turned to yellow dead grass and the only way I was going outside was if I was bundled up in a jacket, scarf and gloves. Where could I find peace when I was limited to indoors? Sometimes I’ll find it in the library facing the river. As an English major, I’m often reading, and there’s nothing better than sitting in one of the comfortable chairs by the large windows facing the Hudson. I’ll admit that sometimes I’m not the most productive when I’m in the library; when I should be reading the first few books of the Odyssey, sometimes I find myself gazing out onto the water, lost in thought. The library isn’t always quiet and I’m obviously not alone there, but I usually find a sense of peace when I’m looking for it, and usually even when I’m not.
The coach of the crew team usually thinks of workouts that will make us mentally and physically exhausted. During winter training, the team gathers at the boat house early in the morning to use the rowing machines and, depending on the day and week, we could leave feeling ready for the day or we can stumble out drained. After hard pieces, I usually lean against the railing of the second story deck and wonder how I’m going to finish the practice. Despite me trying to catch my breath and stretching out every muscle I can, I look at the view I have before me- of the Hudson, the beautiful sunrise, the mini-mansions across the river and the view of the bridges just south of Marist- and I find peace. There is so much going on in the world around me, including coaches yelling, music blaring, people chatting and teammates finishing up their own workouts, yet many times I have found inner peace by looking out at the beautiful area around me.
I know that I am so lucky to have such a beautiful campus to call home. Two friends of mine recently visited and they were just as amazed at the beauty as I was the first time I toured Marist. While it’s very difficult to find a place of complete peace and quiet with thousands of students all around, I have come to realize that I probably won’t find silence; but if I see the beauty around me, I will be inspired to find peace within myself.
Class of 2015