I have tagged 3 blog posts with university-life:

Finding Your Rhythm: Navigating the Dance between University, Work, and Friendship in the Frosty Heart of Norway

A young man reading a newspaper, surrounded by textbooks, a laptop, and a coffee, against a university backdrop.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 09:46

Good morning, everyone. As I sit on this train, the frost etching its poetry on the windows and the Norwegian winter making its presence known with a bracing -9 degrees Celsius, I am reminded of the concept of balance. The balance inherent in the very cycle of nature, winter's cold giving way to spring's rebirth. This thought prompts me to share my own experiences on navigating the tricky interplay between being a full-time university student, a part-time worker, and an always-on-call friend.

Managing time between these roles is like stepping into an intricate dance, one that requires a blend of grace, discipline and strategy. The snapshots of my mornings, characterized by the rhythm of the train wheels against the track, end up setting the stage for my entire day. In the confines of my daily commute lies a block of time that I use to plan, strategize, and educate myself. I write these very sentences, zooming towards another day at the university, my thoughts shaped by the world around me.

Today, for instance, I read news that radiates heat even from afar - a report on the escalating conflict in Gaza. As a student of journalism, it's a stark reminder of the power words wield, of their capacity to inform, educate, and inspire action. I further read about the Prime Minister's call for a ceasefire, his concerns for civilian safety, his emphasis on humanitarian aid and international law. The world, it seems, is dancing its own intricate dance, with bigger stakes and higher tensions.

For me, each day is a series of carefully planned steps. I study. I work. But I also listen, engage, and maintain connections with those who enrich my life. I meet friends for coffee, take study breaks to chat with them, laughing, gossiping, and growing together. Through these seemingly simple acts of connection, I cultivate invaluable relationships, nurturing friendships that create a strong support network which is, so often, a crucial element in coping with the pressures and demands of life.

Every one of us lives different lives, but the challenge of balancing distinct facets of life is universal. Whether it is college, work, friends, or any other pursuits demanding your time and attention, remember to be patient with yourself. It's a dance, after all. You'll stumble, miss a step, lose your rhythm from time to time. Forgive yourself when you do so, retie your dancing shoes, and step back onto the floor; the dance of life waits for no one.

And despite the challenges, there is an undeniable beauty in this delicate tightrope walk of managing time between university, work, and friends. It builds resilience, it teaches prioritization, it fosters empathy. It has given me a multi-faceted lens to gaze upon life, one that has amazing clarity, brilliant hues, and a breathtaking depth.

So, as this train forges forward, breaking through the silvery mist, I do too. I am grateful for my life, this frame-within-a-frame existence that keeps me grounded yet also propels me into the fascinating, challenging, enriching world of adulthood. I am grateful that amidst the chaos, I can still find balance. And as long as I learn to adjust my steps to the shifting rhythm, I am confident that I can keep dancing this intricate dance of life.

Tags: university life life balance student life time management

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Of Shadows and Light: A Contemplative Journey on a Nordic Train

Student on train, gazing pensively out window, with Norway's news on laptop, a power bank, and old university club pin.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, November 3, 2023, 15:43

As I sit here on this Nordic train, it's a standard afternoon leaving Oslo, persistently chilled despite the sun's best effort to decorate the landscape with shadows. Rows of birch trees lining up outside the cold window pane punctuate the beautifully melancholic ambiance of the setting.

The trees are residual metaphors, casting shadows of my own thoughts. Just finished reading an article about Økokrim's decision regarding Norway's Prime Minister. The elite scandal, the bankruptcy and allegations; it isn't the best of reads after a day of exhaustive studies.

But as I watch the frozen woods blur into a hazy montage, my mind wanders back to the university, to the comfort of camaraderie, to the joy of being part of a club. If universities were uncertain oceans, these clubs are the tangible anchors.

A sense of belonging, the fraternity provides, is almost comforting, acting as a reprieve from the monotony of life. It is a sanctuary for those seeking kinship, those eager to discover themselves amidst the chaos of existence. The bond that's formed, the connections made, they illuminate the journey of youth. Being part of a club or fraternity sometimes feels like being part of an extended family, a home away from home.

The robust discussions, the shared laughter, the lightness of being, it all adds up to the allure of being part of something big, something significant.

Yet, it seems like these happy memories have plunged into the abyss of the past, in the shroud of a grey world outside my window. Recollections starkly contrasting the frigid alleys of today's reality, the balance seems skewed.

My phone battery, tragically leaning towards the end of its life, is somehow a reflection of my dwindling energy. It's in moments like this, I am genuinely thankful for the quiet genius of power banks. Able to store energy and deliver it when most needed, they've become an absolute necessity, especially for someone who spends a considerable amount of time on the move. Like a reservoir of endurance that you can tap into during dim moments, there's an appealing metaphor there.

They offer an escape, enabling the continuity of comforting distractions against the harsh realities of the world. A constant companion, holding within them the potential to power up the digital life we strongly rely upon, the little devices have become progressively significant.

Life has a peculiar sense of irony. As I navigate through this roller-coaster of emotions, wrestling between academic pressures and today's disheartening news – I'm reminded, much like the trees outside, we all have a cycle to follow. A surrender to the seasons, an acceptance of change.

We all grow, we all remain, and in doing so, we forge bonds and create memories. Whether in the jubilant embrace of a fraternity or alone in the dejected backseat of a train, we endure. That's the essence of existence, isn't it? A poignant ballet of joy and sorrow, courage and fear, of resilience.

As the train pulls into my station, I pack away these thoughts. And with them, I carry an appreciation for these finite moments, whether in the company of my club mates or in the solitary commute home. Both have their own unconventional beauty, both shaping me in their unique, inimitable ways. Today, I am dejected, but this too shall pass.

Tags: Nordic Travel university life power bank

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Powering Through Adversity: A Chronicle of Journalism Students Amidst the Pandemic

A photo of a student huddled in a campus library, laptop open, surrounded by friends on Zoom, with a power bank nearby, symbolizing the realities of remote learning and the need for adaptability in a changed world.
Kaia Thonul, Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 08:18

As I peer out of the train window this cool 14°C Oslo morning, the world outside appears melancholic; fall leaves carpeting the ground whisper tales of passing time, matching my current disposition perfectly. Reflecting my internal landscape, it’s the perfect frame for sharing the experiences from my study groups.

University life, despite its burdens, has a peculiar charm. Just as the falling leaves, we are each unique, instilling our own bits of brilliance into the haphazard pile that is our study group. We are a remarkable amalgamation of unique perspectives and daring ideas, tied together by our shared passion: journalism.

And oh, the tales these study groups can tell! From researching obscure topics to cajole our grades from the clutches of mediocrity, to the heated discussions which often result in a room divided. These are the moments, fashioned by adversity, that shape us as future journalists.

But today, our otherwise vibrant group hangs under a cloud, mirroring the downcast weather. The latest developments in global travel have left us grasping for hope, desperately trying to make sense of a world unmoored by the ongoing pandemic.

Just this morning, I read about Norwegian Air cancelling all flights to and from Tel Aviv until December due to lack of demand. It re-emphasized that the world we knew, the one before the pandemic, lies shrouded in uncertainty. It is scenarios like these that reiterate the importance of potent, accurate, and honest journalism, reinforcing the path we have chosen, even on our cloudiest days.

Strangely, amidst all this uncertainty, one gadget I have come to heavily rely on is my power bank. Offering me the lifeline of a charged device, a tiny thread back to normalcy through continuous connectivity. No, it cannot replace the brick-and-mortar of university life or the traffic between nations; but it does afford me the luxury of scribbling away my thoughts on here, ensuring that I am digitally armed to face every blogging day.

When the world is reeling under a health crisis, and airlines suspend operations, you realise it's the seize-the-moment kind of living that wins the day. And, in these moments, a trustworthy power bank becomes no less than an unshakeable ally.

As the train whirrs along, methodically slicing through the early morning chill, I realise how much these study group tales embody our collective spirit — yes, we are a bit downcast at the moment, but like the indefatigable power bank, we continue to chart our paths tirelessly, leaning on each other for strength.

Maybe one day, when the flights resume and the temperature soars high again, we will look back on these days as the ones that truly defined us, not merely as students of journalism but as resilient human beings. Until then, let these words be a beacon, guiding us through the storm.

Tags: university life pandemic Oslo Study Group journalism

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