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Conscious Beauty Spotlight: Discover U Part 2

by Burt’s Bees | 9 min read

We caught up with students excited to head back to campus after a year of uncertainty. Read on to learn how college has helped them grow into who they really are, discover their power and why putting themselves out there is always worth it.

How did you pick your University?

Sydney: I applied to nine schools and got into all of them. Duke ended up being the last place that I visited.

It really ended up being that whole cliché feeling when you're like, "It feels right." Everybody was welcoming, It was a beautiful campus. It just felt like a place I could find a home.

Tell us more about this individualized degree program you’re in.

Sydney: They don't call it a major, it's called an alternative educational path. Program II is an educational path that allows you to design your own course of study. Mine is called Fashioning Society: A Reassessment.

It's basically a path that I designed to learn more about how the fashion industrial complex negatively affects society through sustainability, social constructs and industrial structure. And I'm also minoring in Spanish.

How did you get interested in fashion?

Sydney: I've always been interested in fashion and just expressing personality through clothing. When I was younger, I used to not be so outgoing like I am now, and clothes helped pull that out of me. I would be the quietest person sitting in the classroom but wearing the loudest thing just because I felt like it was easier to share more about myself through my clothes than actually speaking.

Now, that's grown into my interest in fashion, because I feel like the power of fashion has done so much for me, but then there are all of these malpractices in the industry that make fashion a stronger negative force than it is a positive force the way it has been for me.

How has COVID in this past year changed your college experience?

Sydney: I had a normal freshman Fall and a normal half of freshman Spring, and then right on Spring break it was like, “You're not coming back." I'm very happy to have had a normal Fall to know what college is really supposed to be like.

I'm just the type of person who likes to get out of bed, do my makeup, put on an outfit, and when that wasn't necessary, I just got out of the swing of things. I had a weird bleh period sophomore Fall because of all that. I was just working with it, trying to get through, doing my classes, and learning to be myself again with the way life was. And now, easing out of it, I feel like it was a good period of growth.

How do you think this time period has helped you grow?

Sydney: I feel like I learned a lot about myself when I wasn't feeling like myself, and I was just like, "Oh, I'm in this rut. How do I get out of it? What can I do?" I started asking myself questions like, "What do I like to do for myself?" I learned that I like to just adventure out by myself and just roam around, walk around the city, go wander.

I like to meditate before I go to sleep. I tried meditation as another coping mechanism and that is now something I like to do, it really helped me. I just like trying new things, it really encouraged that growth.

What’s something that you've learned about yourself while at college?

Sydney: There's a lot of things that I've learned just because of college. You have to make things happen for yourself. You can't just sit around and expect things to happen for you or be sad when you don't get opportunities. You really just have to be intentional about the things that you're doing to get the things that you want.

"You have to make things happen for yourself. You can't just sit around and expect things to happen for you or be sad when you don't get opportunities."

How does nature play a role in your life?

Sydney: I like to run outside. My favorite place to run is this bridge a quick drive from my house. I try to do something active every day. Usually, my thing is running the bridge every day.

I love to sit at a shop that sells Kava (a root-based drink) that’s half inside, half outside and type away doing my work.

What does your skincare routine look like?

Sydney: Sometimes I get a little lazy, but generally every morning I wash my face, I use the face wash and then I use witch hazel on a cotton pad and then I moisturize, I put on sunscreen, and then I do a little facial spray just to wake me up.

In the evening if I have makeup on, I'll take off my makeup with a makeup wipe, I wash my face, put on my nighttime moisturizer. Sometimes I do a little vitamin E oil at night.

What are you looking forward to this semester?

Sydney: I just crossed into my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, so I'm really excited to be a part of that.

Next semester, I'm going to be doing a Duke in New York program. I'll be living in the city focusing on arts and media and having an internship with my classes. I'm excited about that whole program and to live in the city because I love its fast pace, the spontaneity of it all, the people that you see there, walk up the street with the outfits, everything.

How’d you pick your university?

Tony: Mainly because of my figure skating career. That’s why I moved so many times, when I switched coaches. At Delaware they have a really good skating program, so that's part of the reason why I came.

What about your major?

Tony: I was good at math and physics, and that's the core classes of mechanical engineering. Freshman year, I was a mechanical engineer major and then all my friends switched to chemical engineer, so I switched. It’s a much harder major. Yeah, I did that on a whim. I was scared I was going to fail out as soon as I switched, which is kind of embarrassing, but that didn't happen. So, I guess I overcame that.

When did you get into figure skating?

Tony: Well, it's funny. When I was five, wanted to do hockey at first. I have the strict Asian parents, and they said it was too dangerous, so I tried figure skating and I was pretty good at it.

How did you find your community?

Tony: I live with five other guys. We’re in the engineering fraternity here, Sigma Phi Delta. I think joining Greek life was a really good choice on my part. One of the best decisions I made on a whim. 

"I think skating is a form of self care, it helps with stress. It's a way that I express myself."

What are some of the unexpected things about your college experience so far?

Tony: Delaware is a pretty big school, but at the same time, it's like a small world. I was surprised by just walking down Main Street or walking to class, seeing so many people I would recognize.

Also, I feel like an adult-ish. That's kind of surprising. I make my own food. I have my own car. I don't really need my parents that much which is kind of shocking because now I feel old. It's gone by so fast.

What’s something that you've learned about yourself while at college?

Tony: I learned that I'm more capable. A lot of times I don't think I'm capable of something, but I actually am.

My GPA is really good. I thought I would have to quit skating when I went to college because college is a huge time commitment. I rushed a fraternity and I had to also join the figure skating team here. I pretty much did everything I could. And I'm really proud of myself for doing that.

How does nature play a role in your life?

Tony: The UD campus is pretty beautiful. I really enjoy just walking around, seeing all the trees. There’s a huge stretch of grass where like people hang out, they throw a ball around. A bunch of us would go outside and they lay down a towel and do our homework there, study, whatever.

White Clay Creek Park is one of my favorite spots. There's a creek that runs down and me and my friends we get a bunch of those swimming tubes, we blow them up and then we put them in the creek and we float down.

What does self care look like to you?

Tony: I think skating is a form of self care, it helps with stress. It's a way that I express myself. I sometimes I like to meditate, especially during COVID when I'm staring at a screen for so long, it's nice to disconnect.

I usually go in YouTube and I look up breathing meditation videos. I have a balcony in my room. I usually go out of there, close my eyes, do some breathing exercises that really helps me.

What does your skincare routine look like?

Tony: I shower twice a day. I moisturize, I use lip balm. I use facial toner. That's about it. My skin is pretty good for the most part.

What are your feelings about post-graduation?

Tony: One of my struggles that I guess I'm still going through right now is I still don't know what I'm going to do after I graduate. I kind of want to go towards something maybe in the medical or pharmaceutical field because I want to find a job that directly helps people.

 New semester energy is in the air. Grab your back-to-class essentials and share your journey with us @BurtsBees!

See what other students had to say in part one of our Discover U series.

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