As I am writing this article, I find myself feeling surprised at how much actually changed in 2016. Be it the loss of a person or of the relative stability that most of us had known for a while and grown accustomed to -- the events of the past year had a far deeper impact than anyone could have expected. I think we can all agree that it felt impossible to keep our heads up at times, especially with so much uncertainty being thrown our way over and over again. Many articles and online posts that I've read lately lean toward the probability that this next year will be significantly less eventful than 2017. While it is easy to believe that fate will take our side, there is really no way to know for sure that the general morale of humanity will improve without each of us taking specific steps to change our world for the better.

I'm not saying that in order to make the world a better place, you have to up-end your life. I was reminded on one of the final days of last semester that simply having a positive attitude toward others is one of the best ways to brighten the world around you. Sometimes it is hard, but being kind and compassionate and giving what you can to others is the key to changing the world little by little. It is tempting to give yourself a way out of difficult situations by convincing yourself that others could handle it better than you can, but you never know the chain reaction of good things that simply trying your best to improve your attitude can cause.

There are no words to describe the feeling that 2016 left in our hearts right up to the end. We lost so many people that defined us for so long, and a few that hadn't even gotten the chance to make their mark yet, whose deaths were especially painful for me. The weight of loss and change was ever-present in our lives. Feel that weight. Remember it. Let it inspire you to be the good part of someone's day. You never know just how far a chain reaction will go.