#FreshmanYear: Spring Slump

gratitude picA month and a half ago, when I just launched this blog, I posted a reflection about how fast time was passing (read it here). Well, guess what. Now, I have literally five weeks left to my freshman year. My goal for this spring quarter was to just be happy. That didn’t necessarily mean stop being academically ambitious – but I wanted to express more gratitude and preserve more memories of this wonderful first year as a college student.

But to be honest, I’ve recently been experiencing a bit of a slump. It’s not severe – in fact, most days I don’t even notice it. However, as I sit on my bed looking at the mess that is my desk, brimming with loose papers, dried tea bags, and open textbooks, I realize that I haven’t been really appreciating every day. When my friends are nice to me, I sort of take it for granted. When people offend me or stand me up, I just shrug my shoulders. Nothing bothers me too much – but nothing excites me. I go class and it either stresses me out (“Damn, I’ve so much work to do tonight”) or bores me. I’ve been looking at the clock more often. I either don’t enjoy my food, and everything tastes bland because I’m stressing out while I’m eating, or I enjoy my food too much and overeat because, well, I’m stressing out while I’m eating. The weather is getting hotter? Ugh, I have to change into shorts today. The weather cooled down at night? Ugh, why isn’t it sunny when I want it to be?

So, with this kind of whiny mentality, I let April pass me by like a blur.

I really want to transfer my stress into a sort of excitement. It doesn’t make sense for me to be excited for next year’s course options if I’m not thriving in this semester’s – after all, I chose the courses myself. This doesn’t mean I’m forbidden from complaining about an exam once in a while, but I need to take a step back and learn to enjoy the knowledge I’m obtaining. I won’t ever learn information with these people in this way ever again in my life.

In terms of my friends, I’ve made some of the kindest, most caring friends ever this year. I really should show my gratitude towards them – to the friends who treat me to soft drinks when I’m feeling low, to the friends who want to share their personal experiences with me. On the other hand, I also need to be firm to people who give me negative vibes – people who don’t care about my emotional state and simply want to use me, people who think their lives deserve so much more attention than mine. I am the person who chooses how I want a relationship to turn out, so I have to be more active.

Right now, I’m realizing that my happiness really isn’t about what happens externally in my life. It’s about my outlook. If I keep saying things are boring or stressful or shouldn’t happen in this or that way, they are going to turn out that way. But, if I train myself to see everything as a once in a lifetime experience, as a challenge worth pursuing, I will be waking up everyday with a smile. As our ol’ man Abe Lincoln once said, “folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

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