“Be patient, pleasant, and open, and you will see more truths.”

I’m not the type to believe cliché sayings written on sheets of paper slipped into little curved cookies, but college changed that. It may sound strange, but with having a Panda Express right next to my dorm building, I was exposed to the crispy treats more than usual. I feel that every time I get Chinese with friends, we would joke about what the secret message inside the cookie could reveal, and if it related to our lives in any way. I’d always wondered who thought of these phrases, and how many people really believed “today would be the day they would find success.”

With college’s rollercoaster of emotions, new experiences, and booked schedules, I found my fortunes to actually be encouraging when I needed them most. Usually I would laugh at the irony of the slip of paper, but mostly because I felt as if I thought myself into believing that the fortune somehow related to my life currently, like horoscopes. However, ever since coming to Springfield, the miniature quotes made me lean back in my chair and think, ‘hmm,’ and not toss them along with the rest of my trash. These messages weren’t just coincidences, they honestly felt like guidance from God.

“Choose your own path.”

A month or so into my first semester, I was taking in all of my new opportunities and trying to sort out my major/minor decisions. I had just attended a majors fair where I talked to different professors about my possibilities in English. I never really knew what I could do with my skills in English, and was interested to learn what was out there. I had occasionally been trash-talked for my adoration of the subject, but it was nice to hear otherwise from students who had gone through the same phase I was. Hours later, I walked out, arms full of informational fliers and a new perspective. On my way back to my dorm, I stopped by Panda Express to grab a late lunch, and snagged a fortune cookie on my way towards the door after picking up my food. Halfway through my meal, I noisily opened the plastic and cracked open the cookie. The paper scraped against the hard edge of the broken cookie unpleasantly, and it read: “Choose your own path.” Vague, but appropriate. My meal, up until that point, was full of my mind racing about all of the different options presented to me earlier. My stomach was fluttering. In that moment, I was in need of encouragement towards my decision of whether or not to include English in my future plans at Missouri State. So, I slept on my thoughts, and woke up to see the little paper sitting on my desk. The following day, I walked down the street into University Hall and declared my minor as Creative Writing.

“A great pleasure in life is doing what others say you can’t.”

My second motivating message came about a two months later, as time was nearing end-of-year finals. It was a time for me to really utilize my newly learned adult abilities and crack down on schoolwork for final grades. There were many times during those weeks before the final exams that I felt overloaded with stress, and predicted I was unable to achieve the letter-grade goal I set for myself. The self-doubt affected my attitude, perspective, work ethic, social engagements, and most importantly, my homework. However, this negativity dissolved with the quick realization from the little fortune cookie quote I received one afternoon. It read, “A great pleasure in life is doing what others say you can’t.” A sigh of relief emerged as a response, but also a satisfactory smile. Self-doubt can be so heavy on a person, both mentally and physically, and I was notorious for letting it get the best of me. The paper was a perfect reminder for me to fixate my thoughts on my goal, and not consume my thoughts with ideas of myself finishing unsuccessful. It was almost humorous how one little slip of paper had the ability to change my attitude towards many different aspects of my life. Small, yet impactful.

Who knew how encouraging fortune cookies could be?