Handling the Unexpected
I am a nemophilist. Being a West Texas transplant, the forest still calls to me. I love getting to visit my woods of pine and had the opportunity to recently.
I took my daughter to haunt the forest of my youth. We set out on a hike with clear blue skies peeking through the boughs of the trees that deflected the sun and trembled in the soft breeze.
“This, child of mine, feels just right. Breathe in the woodsy aroma of pine and soak in this splendor.”
My 7-year-old was delighted to explore the woods with me until I heard a hissing noise. My daughter was inches away from touching a snake! The snake raised it’s head as if to strike and as we ran I realized I was shrieking uncontrollably.
Gaining control of my larynx, I walked back to get a better look at the snake and even got a picture before resuming the run to safety.
As it turns out, the snake was non-venomous. It resembled a water moccasin in coloring and reared up like a cobra. As scary as it sounded and looked, I learned it was more danger to itself than to us. If this hognose snake had not successfully scared us away with the aggressive tactic, it would have then played dead. This type of snake is known to play dead so long and so well that it sometimes lets itself die in the process.
Back to my anticipated adventure in the forest with my daughter. We went back out, armed with the knowledge of harmless hognoses and that running away is unnecessary. We also suited up with rubber boots to protect our feet and shins because the reality was rattlesnakes and water moccasins were a legitimate concern. Now that we were prepared, we were able to let fear slither away and let the peace and beauty of our surroundings fill our spirits.
College and life do not always go as planned. It is a good idea to have a Plan B, Plan C, or Plan K. Sometimes it is as simple as extra studying and getting new supplies. Other life curve balls are more significant and may require extra support. ASU has counseling staff here to support.
During your college journey, hang on to your academic and career goals but do not forget to be aware of your present surroundings. It might be your best semester yet, it could be your most challenging, but there is something to be thankful for in the good and in the not-so-good moments.
Take a minute at the end of each day and write or reflect on at least one thing you are thankful for: be it benign snakes, a study break, rubber boots, free counseling appointments, the internet, blue sky, the chance to be in college, the swimming pool at the CHP, or a weekend forest break for a nemophilist.