POWER: Take time to reassess

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My head is in the clouds. I am walking on Wisconsin Avenue whistling an Avett Brothers’ tune, physically in one place, mentally in another. It is still hot like summer, but I am back at school.

My footsteps on this sidewalk feel ancient, like I am reliving an unknown section of my life. A new rhythm swishes around inside of me — a mix of who I was last semester and who I became this summer.

Hello again, Marquette. I am excited to enter into this year’s relationship, but for now I need to process this transition and let it ride.

Just a week ago, my summer job finished. I grabbed all the clothes out of my locker, stuffed them in an old hockey bag, into the car, stopped by home to stock up on food, patted my dog on its head and drove away to Milwaukee.

Many people were already here taking summer classes, teaching, interning and swimming in Lake Michigan. Hours later, I arrived, and within a few days the Marquette community was in place again. A lot of change for so short a time.

From here and up to 1,000 miles north in Arctic regions, summer nesting birds are making a similar but more demanding transition: migration to the south.

National Geographic calculated that around a billion birds stop over on the Gulf Coast during migration. This autumn could be disastrous if they follow this annual route. The food along the coast and in salt marshes is covered in oil from the devastating BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion.

Hopefully, with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they will find new rest stops. Its response program helps divert birds to safer feeding areas and is predicted to help a small portion of the migration, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

Many birds do not know what their new future holds, but their story can send a message to people transitioning into Marquette.

It is clear: Be aware of who you are and what you need.

A lot of change can happen within three months. Take time to reassess yourself by writing a journal, talking with friends, or spending time alone at the lake.

Do not come here merely because it is a family tradition or where you have gone for the last three years. Marquette should be a place you migrate back to each fall because it fulfills personal and emotional needs.

Birds have continued to choose the Gulf of Mexico because there is an abundance of food, long days and warm weather. Now that their food and homes are oil-coated, many coastal areas no longer fulfill their needs. Present and future generations will have to re-route.

As for us, life is changing, rotating and transitioning. Every once in a while, check in with yourself and ask what you need and why you are where you are.

If it feels wrong in your gut, figure out a plan for improvement and take action.

Make peace and let go of anything holding you back. Refuel your inner fire. Be brave enough to ask for help and have self-confidence.

Adapt.