Human at the Whiteboard

Anne Marie Merline, University Honors Program,
Anne Marie Merline, University Honors Program,

We are teetering on the half semester mark, but please do not wish the rest of the semester away. We are all still in the process of learning. These moments are all too important to think about the time when the learning will be over, either for a week, or a semester or when we leave these sacred grounds of learning.

This happens every semester: I realize that it is half way through the semester. I say to myself (every semester) that it can’t possibly be true. We just started, we are just getting to start to get into the material, and of late, I just started to get to know my student’s names. All of these markers aside, I need to come to grips that we are indeed half way through the semester.


I know I am looking forward to Halloween. Registration for the Spring Semester is in just a couple of weeks. Many are looking forward to their sojourn home for Fall Break. Many are looking forward to when the semester ends for good.

I urge caution to this mindset of looking forward to the end of your semester and your education.

Many years ago, my son Ben and I went to the Heruka Buddhist Center, mostly so that he could take in some classes for children that centered in Buddhist teachings. The children would sit up front on their maroon pillows and listen to their teacher talk about different aspects of Buddhism and ask the children to relate these ideas to their lives. At the end of the lesson, the children were asked to draw a picture of the theme of the day.

These lessons were not lost on me.

Being entrenched in Catholic and Jewish guides for life in Boston,which is where I grew up, I am more grateful for these years learning Buddhist philosophy.

Those few years of lessons for Ben taught me one lesson that I try to remind myself just about every moment that I am not wasting on Facebook. Live now. Don’t stress about the past. Don’t be anxious about the future. I was thinking about how this message is so appropriate to the educational process that I thought I should hand it off to you.

The First Year Students have to interview a faculty member for their First Year Seminar. They ask us “what advice do you have for First Year Students?” I always tell them to take advantage of all that a great campus like this one has to offer. Take advantage of the activities, the other people here and the education of which they are a part.

I would like you to appreciate the fact that you are living in a nation of global privilege and that being enrolled in this University makes you more privileged than most.

You have the opportunity to live, learn and grow in ways that most will not. Please take advantage of the here and now and learn all that you are able to learn. Do not wish one moment of your education away. Embrace each and every moment inside of each classroom. Embrace the opportunity to learn from your teachers and from your classmates.

Be in the here and now.


Anne Marie Merline is a faculty member in the University Honors Program. Letters and feedback can be sent to