As my family sat around a fire pit in our back yard recently, battling the smoke in our eyes, we told stories, reflected about life in general, and listened to one another. My 13-year-old also provided entertainment with some bad puns and riddles. (Ex: Why is your nose in the middle of your face? It’s the scenter!) I enjoyed watching the interaction of my family, seeing how they bounced ideas off one another, made one another laugh, and paused every once in a while to think about what someone else said.
Though days later, I find myself thinking about why I like sitting around the fire pit so much. I think it is because I am taking a break from my busyness; I intentionally leave electronic devises in the house. I make myself present, which is a gift for both my family and me. They become my definitive priority. I also notice noises and activity otherwise missed when my attention is diverted to a work project or some social media site. The rabbits and squirrels are burrowing down for some sleep, bats and other night creatures start to emerge, a firefly may flicker, stars come out and there are also moments of just silence.
When in this moment of reflective solitude, I hear more than just words being spoken. There are underlying tones to consider. There are moments of clarity and insight otherwise missed. Watching the flame’s natural ebb and flow makes me relax and be more inclined to be open to new ideas and possibilities. Overall, I am much more grounded after sitting by the fire pit. This pause helps me live smarter, and at the CCD, do a good job. I am stopping to make sure my choices are the right ones and make sense.
For our students, I know there are options, distractions, and expectations regarding majors and careers. People get busy and updating a résumé, visiting their LinkedIn profile to make it current, or even coming in to talk about their next steps in life, falls off the radar. At times, it can be overwhelming or confusing. The CCD staff are trained to listen, guide, reflect, and offer options to UConn students. We can help students see situations from different perspectives, which often allows individuals to frame a problem in a new way. And though we don’t have a fire pit at the office, we definitely give students our full attention and are focused on helping them achieve their goals. And you never know, you might also be on the receiving end of a silly joke or pun.