According to my Google Calendar, my every minute is scheduled for today. I allotted three hours for Statistics, two hours for my Chemistry professor’s office hours, and an hour at the Writing Center. The pile of notebooks on my table have too many stars scribbled inside them, one for each thing I am confused about that I need to ask a professor or a tutor on.

Fresh okra from the Pomona College Organic Farm

Fresh okra from the Pomona College Organic Farm

When I feel overwhelmed by the rushing, the going, the in-between deadlines, I take the time to pause. I love pauses. Every assignment I do, and every application I fill out, have a foundation in the moments of pause. Pauses are not escapism — I pause to welcome in my senses and thoughts.

Succulents from the Claremont Forum Farmers & Artisans Market, open on Sundays and Origami boxes

Succulents from the Claremont Forum Farmers & Artisans Market, open on Sundays; Origami boxes

The consortium is a paradise of places to pause, once I started exploring. On Wednesdays, I meditate for an hour with a group at the McAlister Center, the consortium’s religious center. On Saturday mornings, I like volunteering at Pomona College’s organic farm, where I have tended marigolds and sifted compost. I also take ballroom dance lessons with the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company, and meet with a counselor every week at the EMPOWER Center, the Violence Prevention & Advocacy Center of The Claremont Colleges. I can hardly believe that this is my home.

Scripps College's Rose Garden

Scripps College’s Rose Garden

Last night, it rained for the first time in Claremont in a month. A friend and I went for a walk and breathed in the smell of pine and rain. Every breath felt different from the one before. I was surrounded by so many colors.

I pause to remember why I love to learn. I pause to give my full attention to a friend or a speaker. I pause to ask my professors what they were like as undergraduates. Then, turning back to my Google Calendar, I can once again see all of the strange and wonderful worlds that my classes can get me closer to.