In The Office – Cheer up, don’t let college perils get you down

We have passed the midterm hump of the semester and with our glorious winter break end in sight, I would like to use this space to make a few notes about something I think a lot of us disregard or undervalue in college: personal happiness.

I’m big on being happy. Everyone has their mopey phases; occasionally being stuck waist deep in a rut is just the way life goes. But I do not believe that is the way life is. Happy should be a norm, not a goal.

Finishing up my senior year now, I know that college is a rollercoaster and that oftentimes the overwhelming press of classes, friends, likely money problems, nagging parents and poor roommate hygiene can suck away happiness without your even realizing it.

Maybe you pledged this semester and you haven’t slept in a month. Maybe you left your boots and coat at your parents’ house and it’s going to snow tomorrow. Maybe you’re a Mets fan. Maybe you have just been screwed over too hard too many times and you let happiness become an occasional perk instead of your right as a person.

It is November in Oswego and please believe that I know better than most that we trudge in November in Oswego. We fight winds and darkness and sleet and now, apparently, we fight the swine flu. We didn’t get a fall break this year and finals are going to hit soon. It’s painfully cold outside. There is never any parking.

So I say screw it. There is too much pushing against us for us to let winter, to let unhappiness, win. Push back, do whatever it takes to pick yourself up. Days are not something to simply be gotten through; they are your life right now in college. This is supposed to be the time when we find out who we are and what we need; there is an undeniable obligation to put some effort into being a person, defined however you feel and achieving whatever you wish. But I’ve decided that one thing we should all want, feel and wish is to be happy.

So make it happen. Tell someone how you feel. Be a dork with your best friend. Do something mildly stupid and quintessentially collegiate. Smile until it hurts and demand happiness even in the face of whatever crap it is that we all deal with. Dance, sing, scream, doodle, laugh, eat, run.

I came to this conclusion last week. I promise it works.