Making every second count: Reflecting on our first month back on campus


As college students, it is easy to get lost in the blind haze of hiking back and forth to classes each day, working to build our resumes, connecting with teachers, making friends, keeping good grades and getting involved with clubs, among our other responsibilities. Especially as UK’s campus returns to semi-normal as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the number of student obligations and opportunities now available to us can seem overwhelming to the point where we don’t have time to step back and reflect on our daily accomplishments, big or small. Now, a month into the school year, I’ve gotten into the routine of completing the same tasks day after day - almost mechanically - in order to check items off of my ever-growing to-do list, but even so, I keep in the back of my mind the thought that the days I spend here are ones I will want to remember forever.


Last year at the height of the pandemic, I found it difficult to enjoy my days when I was isolated from my normal life, my friends and my extended family. When the routine of staying at home worried about the world outside got to be too much, the easiest way to find satisfaction in my days was to choose a specific moment each day that made me happy, no matter how mundane it was. This led me to find an app called "1 Second Everyday," which allows you to save one-second snippets every day and compile them into a video journal at the end of the year. I tried my best to capture the raw, unfiltered images of my experiences as they were happening, and whether they’re objectively boring illustrations of my laptop screen in the middle of completing an assignment or exciting ones in the middle of the action with zero context, my one-second videos help me record those instances in time in my brain as they’re happening which makes every day seem more significant.


There are some times when I have so many happy videos at once that I struggle to choose just one to document. If this experience has taught me anything so far it’s that romanticizing my life and finding joy in something small each day does not have to mean documenting the most polished or edited pictures in order to project a certain image of who I want to be to the world. The snippets that I choose aren’t always the most cultivated, but when they’re all put together, they give a glance into my life and what I value, which is arguably more of a representation of me than the carefully curated version of myself that I would normally choose to share.


I’ve also learned to make something good out of every single day that’s worth remembering. The candid photos and videos that I have of my friends, family and home are things that I will look back on fondly when I want to reflect, maybe even more so than the posed and edited versions because these show exactly what I saw in the moment as it happened. This project has helped me find my footing and motivation to go out and make every moment I have enjoyable, rather than pushing off my plans for the future.


If there’s any advice I would give to those who are struggling to escape the monotony of life in college, it would be to find something that gets you out of bed in the morning that makes every day enjoyable, whether that’s talking with friends, starting a hobby on your own or working toward a goal. Discovering the things that are worth remembering in your life, regardless of how dull they appear from your current viewpoint, will give you moments to reminisce about for years in the future after your perspective changes.