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MORE summer lessons in University Heights

Managing+Editor+Grace+Sherban+rings+in+the+new+school+year+by+looking+back+on+the+lessons+and+experiences+from+Summer+2023
Monique Sherban
Managing Editor Grace Sherban rings in the new school year by looking back on the lessons and experiences from Summer 2023

A little less than a year ago, I released a column titled “Summer Lesson in University Heights” where I documented the life lessons I learned while spending my summer break in University Heights. Despite being one of the first pieces published during my sophomore year, this is one of my favorite things I have written for The Carroll News. 

This past summer, I had the opportunity to stay in University Heights again and I thought it would be cathartic to look back on the things I learned about myself and the world both within the city limits of University Heights and beyond. 

 

1.) It’s never that serious 

 

Not to generalize, but I think it is a universal experience to care too much about tasks that will be forgotten by the end of the week. The whole human experience revolves around our  ability to feel instantly and try later to decipher those feelings to reveal who we are at our core. 

At times, I found myself caring way too much about little instances which I would later let ruin the majority of my day. This discovery angered me because I didn’t like how much I was invested in such miniscule occurrences and let them control me. But isn’t it a good thing to care about those small details?

Michael Scott, the manager of the Scranton Branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, once said, “Why don’t I tell you what my greatest weaknesses are? I work too hard, I care too much and sometimes I can be too invested in my job.” While this may seem like a nice sentiment, it can be more harmful than beneficial. 

If you let yourself be defined by a class or job, what happens when that is taken away? Think of it this way: if something gets under your skin, ask yourself if you’ll remember in a month. If you think it will be forgotten, just let it go. Once you learn that things are never really that serious, the things that actually do matter become much clearer. 

 

2.) “Priorities” are a two way street

 

Another general concept that, when I sit and think about it for a while, leaves me with more questions than answers is that of priorities and what they entail. It can be counterintuitive if an organization or relationship that is prioritized in your personal life does not view you as a priority. The feeling of giving every part of yourself only to discover that the care and effort is being used in vain is a shocking discovery that can leave a person feeling empty. 

Priorities are simple to identify: something that  makes you excited to get out of bed every morning. At least, this is the case for me. The people I look forward to seeing or calling, the classes I find myself putting more effort into, the work responsibilities that occupy my mind long after 5 p.m. ticks by are the things that have become priorities. But what happens if this commitment is one sided? What happens when those relationships we prioritize are just meaningless ways to kill time for the other party? 

While I have thought long and hard about the best course of action on how to handle one-sided priorities, I have yet to come to a good conclusion on how to handle them. Who knows, maybe I’ll know next summer. 

 

3.) Never “get old”

 

On a Friday afternoon in early August, my coworkers and I made a trip to Ben and Jerry’s to reward ourselves after a busy yet productive week. As we went to enter the ice cream shop, an elderly couple was leaving. The woman was holding the door for her husband who was using a walker so I went to hold the door for both of them because that’s just how I was raised. They both said “thank you” and as the man maneuvered his way out the threshold of the building, he stopped, looked directly into my eyes and uttered the words, “never get old.” 

Now, this may seem like some offhand comment, but it felt as if this gentleman looked directly into my soul when he said those words: “never get old.” While I don’t think his intention was to make me think on his words for way too long, I came to a conclusion that transcends his original sentiment. 

There is no way that one can stop their body from deteriorating. No matter how many miles are run or grams of protein powder are consumed on a daily basis in the prime of life; nothing can guarantee that the knees and heart won’t give out at some point. But one thing that can remain despite the general physical wear and tear of the body is a youthful attitude or outlook. 

As someone who’s built their entire brand around being youthful, the fear of becoming jaded quickly set in when I turned 20 because I felt as if my personality quirks would become stale the older I become. However, I believe that the point could be made that aging is both a physical and mental process. 

So, by coming to terms with the general wear and tear of the body, you can further develop not just the mind but the heart too. In the end, what will more likely become our legacy: our impact on the people we meet or the workout statistics on an Apple watch? 

Lastly, here are a few concrete conclusions I’ve come to as opposed to general concepts that may be extremely specific to my own experience but are nonetheless still relevant within the body of this piece:

  • My pal Stonecold is a “Street Fighter” master and pinball wizard, much like the song
  • Birkenstocks offer unrivaled arch support
  • The University School’s playground in the best playground in the Greater Cleveland area
  • Air conditioning has ruined society 

Well, there it is: another installment into this faux series that began about a year ago. Overall, this summer has provided a nice respite from the chaos of the school year that was much needed. The freetime was nice and well utilized, since I have hobbies now but I am so incredibly pumped and amped to get back into the routine of Tuesday night hangs and five o’clock dinners. So, to the summer of 2023: thank you for helping me come closer to obtaining my inner peace. 

 

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About the Contributor
Grace Sherban
Grace Sherban, Editor-in-Chief
Managing Editor Grace Sally Sherban was born in the early hours on Tuesday May 20, 2003. She spent most of her childhood hooting, hollering and joshing around while constantly reading and watching movies in between. She continues to do much of the same now while double majoring in Communications and English so she stays busy between all the hooting, hollering, joshing around, listening to herself talk, class, walking in the rain and work. Grace’s biggest goal in life is to write a comprehensive novel about the 1955 Academy Awards Best Actress race and its implications on the movie industry. To request the slideshow on the 1955 Academy Awards Best Actress race, she can be reached at [email protected]

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