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Does anyone else feel like 2019 is going way too fast? It seems like just yesterday it was January, and now we are steadily cruising into finals territory. The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining brighter, and gone are the cold, frigid days of 10 degree snow.

I used to get so wrapped up in the mere concept of time passing- I felt that I was wasting my days by doing simple, mundane tasks and thought that I should be doing something bigger. With the end of the school year creeping up, I started thinking about all the things I could have done to make these last few months better- what if I had studied more? What if I had put in more effort in getting to know my professors? What if I had joined more clubs? What if I became more involved in school? Would all the little decisions that I had subconsciously made in my day-to-day life add up, and would I be in a completely different place now?

Ever since the passing of my brother, these thoughts have consumed every inch of my brain. All the “what-ifs” and “how-comes” stacked up on top of each other like dominoes, reaching higher and higher until they eventually fell. The main question was this- if I had done things differently, would I still be in the same situation I am in now?

Unfortunately, Raptors, the answer is that we’ll never know. There’ no point dwelling on the past, whether it be a failed exam, a bad grade, or a missed class. In addition, there’s also no real benefit to fretting about the future. Instead, we should focus on the now.

My brother had a tattoo of the Buddhist Unalome symbol, which represents the path to enlightenment in Buddhist culture. The spirals are meant to symbolize the twists and turns in life, and the straight lines the moment one reaches enlightenment or peace and harmony. The dots at the end of the symbol represent death, or the moment we fade to nothing. I used to think it was pointless, but now I realize that the Unalome symbol pertains to all aspects of life, that growth means choosing happiness over history.

As we go forth in our academic, work, or personal circles, let us remember that the twists and turns are here to lead us to enlightenment, and that only the present moment contains life. Happy summer, Raptors- breathe easy, and stay grateful!

Annika La Vina

My name is Annika La Vina (pronounced like Monica without the M). I am 20 years old, and I am currently a new student at MC. I love all kinds of sports and am super into fitness - catch me running on the side of Rockville Pike on a sunny day! In addition, I love reading and writing and have been an avid writer since elementary school. I dabble in all kinds of major writing forms - fictional, academic and now, blogging!
After high school, I traveled and worked around the world for two years. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, but most of all, it was rewarding. Not only did I experience new cultures and meet tons of people, I also realized several things about myself - the most important being that I needed to go back to school.
It’s frightening - super frightening actually - to embark on a new stage in life. However, you’re not alone. Join me in my newest, weirdest, scariest, most exciting adventure yet - college!

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