The Echo Chamber: Stop and Smell the Roses

By Junior Cassidy Kendall
The Echo Campus Life Editor
Every day I walk by UCA’s massive fountain, and look up to see the water flowing through the air, and the bare trees against the sky.

This sight is always so beautiful as it captivates me for a moment, causing me to forget that I am actually rushing to a class.

Every place you walk on UCA’s campus you will find something beautiful enough to make a moment bright — even on your worst day. But the trick is that you have to look.

I am in the middle of my third year at this school, and I never noticed the beauty surrounding me until about six months ago because I was too busy with my head down, looking for academic achievement.

From the get-go of my college career I was your basic college student, killing myself to be successful on paper. The only beauty I had my eye on was my Friday-night-frat-party ensemble. Partying and grades were the only two things a fulfilled life needed — or so I thought.

For the first two years of college I endured numerous depressive bouts. This was because I killed myself to strive in my classes, and didn’t make time for anything else other than keeping up a mediocre social reputation by making myself seen at occasional parties.

I was not stopping to smell the roses in the most literal sense.

I wasn’t … making time for the finer things in life, if you will.

It took me awhile to figure some things out with myself, and to figure out my priorities. But I think this is okay, because college is all about growth.

My conclusion was that I come first. No grade or party was going to come between me and a much-needed good nights rest, or me and a much-needed trip home after being away for many months.

I would no longer be eating cereal for dinner for an entire week, or get in a rut of skipping the gym for a month.

I would, however, start taking the time to go on a walk with my dog, call my grandparents, write just for fun and read. In other words, I would start to notice the beauty around me. It is literally surrounding me in every song, book, sunny or cloudy day and fountain.

As I approach the final semesters of my college career I am still busy, but I am simply enjoying the crazy-roller-coaster-ride we call college. When they say college prepares you for life, this is what they mean. You can’t learn genuine enjoyment of life from any test or project.

I am so glad God decided to put me at UCA. He must have known I would inevitably be surrounded by the beautiful people and places that have gotten me where I am today.

It won’t be hard if you’re on UCA’s campus, but no matter where you are today, don’t forget to look up and be present by taking a momentary mental break to enjoy the simplistic beauty in something like a fountain. You owe the appreciation to yourself and the world around you.

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