Freezing the present


by Sarah Feinberg, Managing Editor

As glimpses of glittering snowfall through the fogged window pane interrupted my nightly homework routine, I jumped from my desk to admire the view. Without much thought, I paused my half-finished calculus homework spread askew on my desk and ran outside. 

Walking in the dusting of fresh powder beneath my feet, I couldn’t help but feel the flutter in my stomach, the same excitement I’ve felt since I was little. 

Half an inch of snow isn’t anything groundbreaking, really.  Living in New England all my life, I’ve become accustomed to six-foot pileup blizzards and snow-ins. So it wasn’t the idea that the flurries were a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that brought me outside; I took the time to enjoy the snow because I knew I would soon miss this little moment of simple pleasure — knowing that at any moment the glittering flakes could come to a halt, the dusting vanishing into wind and shining sun.

Last year, despite the winter paradise outside, I often found myself inside, wading through piles of textbook readings and videos, neglecting to take needed breaks. While I was guilty of marathon study sessions, clocking in many library hours and multitasking with friends at lunch to finish up homework, it was easy to lose sight of the reasons behind it all. 

It was during the first week of this December with the first snowfall that I realized I was already almost halfway through senior year. I’d spent my fall and past year caught up in conquering small obstacles to reach the next week, the next month, the next semester. I neglected to fully appreciate not only the material I was learning but also the connection of daily interactions with friends, classmates and teachers. 

Before, I had reminded myself time and again to “take time to smell the roses,” enjoying life and being present in the moment. While I applied this to the time spent with family, summer days walking on the beach or enjoying a hike, I too often neglected to apply the same mindset to my learning journey when caught up with the busiest of days. 

Now, I remind myself to enjoy the process of learning for the joy of it. I focus on simply enjoying the flow of ideas and each step in the process when writing or reading, resisting my frequent urge to overthink. Similarly, rather than dreading the long four-hour car rides to visit out-of-town family and wishing the ride would be over, I remind myself to savor the car games and conversations with my parents and siblings, which I know I will soon miss in a few short months. 

In a space where it can feel like the focus is on checking off boxes, moments dedicated to slowing down are a welcome breath of connection to the present.

In a month, a year, five years, I likely won’t remember details of the wording or grammar in essays or notes occupying my mind before the deadline, but rather how the assignment made me feel and how the class shaped my perception of the world. It’s not about making everything perfect, but instead appreciating, enjoying and learning from the journey. I hope we can all try to find something to enjoy and learn from in the present moment, during the remaining months of our high school years. 

I must truly take a moment to relish the final months of my high school career and remember that this step in my process is not the end of an obstacle to conquer, but instead the beginning of a path of exploration. As the season for snow continues, I am excited to walk in every fresh layer that falls.

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