I’ve always found solace in the outdoors. There’s something about breathing in fresh, crisp air and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin that never fails to rejuvenate me. One of my most vivid memories of Northwestern is from my first visit to campus in the January of my senior year of high school. As this was the middle of winter, the ground was covered in snow and cold winds brushed my hair as my breath painted clouds before me. I remember being struck by the immensity and beauty of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan seemed untouched and unfazed by the winter. The waves rolled onto the shores of the beach with a rhythmic momentum that was mesmerizing, and I vividly remember finding a feeling of calm and peace as I looked out over the water, trying to find the horizon.

To this day, Lake Michigan still fills me with a sense of awe. If I ever need to clear my head and unwind, I go for a run along the lake. Oftentimes I will start on the Lakefill here on campus and then follow a trail south that takes me through the Evanston Lakefront Park. With the beach on one side, open fields of grass and trees on my other, and the Chicago skyline in the faint distance ahead of me, I always feel refreshed and inspired. Sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious, I will run up north, following the lake, and find my way to the Gilson Park and Harbor just two miles north of campus. This is probably one of my favorite spots around campus. Standing on the beach, I can feel the sand against my feet while hearing the sound of waves splashing against the sailboats docked in the harbor. But when I look out over the water, all I see is Lake Michigan. There are no lights, no buildings in the distance. It is just me, alone with my thoughts and the distant horizon somewhere over the blue of Lake Michigan. And sometimes, in the midst of a crazy quarter, that brief moment of pause is all I need.

–Connie Wang

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