Four Reasons I Value Surprise

Four Reasons I Value Surprise

Mystery and anticipation trigger excitement in that single snapshot during the surprise.

Imagine a time in your life someone surprised you. Surprises are a magical experience. When people surprise us with a gift, we feel important and supported. Our emotions instantly change when we suddenly become surprised. Keeping us on our toes, surprises force us to experience the unexpected.

Recently my best friend asked me, "Why surprises are special to me?" I had to stop and think of why surprises are so special to me. I came up with a list of four reasons below.

1) Freeze in time. Surprises catch you in the moment and force you to alter your emotions. I love the rush of the unexpected adventure you instantly anticipate once your brain recognizes what is going on. It is similar to an adrenaline rush. In that very moment, nothing else matters, but what you discovered. Surprises demand us to pay close attention and make us more aware of our surroundings. Our brains release dopamine when we are surprised which makes the experience better, and things seem grander. Mystery and anticipation trigger excitement in that single snapshot during the surprise.

2) Discovery. When you are surprised, you discover something about yourself but also about the other people involved. You begin to realize that if someone surprised you with a sweet card that they must care about you because they took their time out of their day to form the words on that paper and give it to you. When someone surprises you with a gift, you instantly feel important. As an education major, I am all about some learning. Surprises act as a catalyst to intensify a desire for learning. The idea of a surprise means that we did not know that such a thing existed and our mind begins to ponder various questions. An intense rush of emotions takes place. You begin to understand the care that person has for you, and you feel loved. Moreover, you feel overflowing appreciation for the people involved.

3) Shifting mind gears. Your brain works like the manual transmission in a car. You start the day off with the first gear, and then gradually throughout the day you alter your gears according to your drive. When I get a surprise, I quickly go from my current gear to the highest gear within seconds. You gain a new perspective once you receive an unexpected encounter. Thoughts of that person cross your mind, and you see a greater understanding of who that person is. If you were to think that all beaches were the same, and then you arrive at a beach that challenges your expectations. The change in your current state of mind allows you to shift perspectives and see that all beaches are different. We build a tolerance for the unexpected and that reduces anxiety in our lives.

4) Returning the favor. I love surprises because I can then share the experience with that person in return. We live in a big world that is constantly changing, so we have to embrace the uncertainty. Personally, I love the reward from living in the unexpected. I am a planner, and I love having control. Recently I have been reminded over and over again that I cannot control everything, and I cannot plan everything. I just have to live, and quite frankly my favorite memories take place when I have participated in unexpected in activities or gotten gifts that I did not anticipate. I love sharing that feeling with people. Sometimes you have to surprise yourself and take a spontaneous day trip somewhere. Furthermore, you could try something new. That feeling of "new" and out of your comfort zone is exhilarating. Why wouldn't you want to share that feeling with those closest to you or even with strangers? I am a letter writer, and I love hearing how surprised my sailor is when he receives a letter. At this point, he probably expects letters because I have sent him so many, but he does not know the words that will fill that paper. I love hearing his happy voice when he tells me he got a letter, and how much he appreciated. Those are the moments of surprise I live for.

I encourage you to live a little on the edge and with that you will be surprised. I also challenge you to surprise those around you. Stick a random note of kindness on someone's car, or send a relative you have not talked to in a while a gift. Surprises are something to live for. It sparks creativity and happiness. Go be bold!

P.S. To my best friend who asked me to write this article, I hope you enjoyed it. I love your surprises more than you will ever know. You manage to surprise me daily which is crazy, but it makes my heart so very full. I am thankful for your adventurous soul that pushes us outside of our comfort zones and forces us to live in a state of surprise. You have opened my mind to this idea, and at times, I hate it. I am by nature a person who clings to control and resists vulnerability along with uncertainty. However, when I am with you I am reminded that I only live one life and I might as well live it full of adventures because after all, the cure to dying is living. We have encountered some great memories that started out as, "I wonder..." and "What if...?" We actively turn on wonder and curiosity through that we feel the most alive. Thank you for sparking the inspiration for this content post. I know I am on this surprise kick right now, but this is no surprise- I love you. Continue to surprise the people who surround you and surprise yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Demi Agresta

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Making a Decision: an Indecisive Guide

To all the indecisive people out there: you are not alone


I am the queen of indecision. For me, making a choice will have me frantically calling both of my parents, asking all of my friends' advice and postponing all studying until the decision is made. Of course, this is because I do not want to make a choice that I regret – such as the time I decided that starting my job at 6:30 am would be a good idea, or the time when I scared my friends with how hyper I was after drinking both coffee and Boba tea. Yet when I take this caution of making the wrong choice too far, the decision-making process itself ends up being regrettable. So much so that I called my mom approximately seven times this weekend to ask her advice on a decision. So much so that my brother used an example of me not being able to choose what kind of shoe I should wear in his article.

This weekend, I was presented with two amazing opportunities to make a difference in the world this summer and I entered a stage of decision paralysis that I did not know was possible. No matter which angle I looked at each situation from, they both would provide me with a phenomenal experience, and would both require sacrifices. Despite not (as of yet) reaching a concrete decision, I learned a lot about the decision-making process and what to do in the next time I am faced with a difficult choice. So, in the spirit of finding summer jobs, gearing up to register for classes and deciding what on earth we want to do with our futures, here are the tips and tricks that I would follow to make the best decision that you can.

Don't overthink it.

Really, this goes without thinking! Or, unlike most of us, it goes with a LOT of thinking! Seriously though, if you overthink things, they will turn into a pudding mush in your brain until you don't know what you don't know anymore. There is a very fine line between thinking through all your options and overthinking them – and judging by the number of times I called my mom this weekend, definitely crossed it.

Always use the pro-con list


Ah, the Gilmore Girls. Not only did you inspire me to read every single book under the sun or have a witty conversation full of cultural references no one else understands, but you also taught me the beauty of the pro-con list. Choosing what you want can be messy and difficult to find because of the fears you might have. distinguish from the fears. Writing it all down on paper can often illuminate the right decision and show you which path is ultimately better.

Decide on your make-or-break factor

Sometimes even the best pro-and-con lists will not be enough and will leave you in a frantic analysis ("should I go for the decision with 3 cons or 3.5 cons?") When even the Gilmore method fails, fear not! Consider which factors you truly do not want to compromise on and go from there. This can mean that even the worse decision may be the right one for you.

Trust your gut

As much as it is difficult to dig through your feelings to find your true motives behind a decision, your gut can sometimes tell you what you are most passionate about and therefore what decision is best for you to take. As my Emory Reads friends tell me, passion trumps everything. Choosing which decision aligns with your values will often lead you to make the best and most-satisfying decision.

But trust your head as well

But your gut can't always be trusted. It can lie to you, and when you overthink too much, it can change its mind. Your gut feeling may be one that is furthermore borne out of fear of the other option. In that way, I have made many a good decision based on the pure basis of rationality. Using only our heart to make important decisions allows fear to be one of the factors, whereas looking at the decision rationally can help you see the ultimate path.

Ask around

When I am puzzled about making a risky decision, I often consult the people in my life who are on my side and want the best for me. These people can help you gauge what your heart truly desires, bring up factors that you haven't considered and even act as a support network for you while making this decision. When your mind kicks into over-analysis, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to truly make a confident choice. Decisions are hard, people. Don't make them on your own.=

Don't ask everyone

There is such a thing as consulting others to make an important decision, and there is such a thing as relying on them to make your decision. If you ask too many people from too wide a pool, you'll end up having opinions for and against what you are proposing, which means that someone will always be disappointed in your decision. The bottom line is, asking too many people for their opinions is frustrating, no matter what – whether they have contradicting opinions, or they just nod their heads and go "hmmm, tough choice" (thanks, I guess?). In order to avoid frustration, consult the people in your life who know you the best and are dearest to you, rather than the stranger in front of you in line for fries at the DUC.

"Would my dad be proud?"

Or your granddad, or your mom, or your professor, or even a TV character. Whoever you know whose morals you can measure your decision up to will often provide reason and illumination. If the decision you are making is not too wild and you feel that you will have their approval, then it is likely not detrimental.

Stick with your decision!

Resolutely make up your mind and refuse to turn back. Exercise your right as a free individual to make a choice for yourself, and then do not second-guess it. Please don't do what I did and email a company two days later saying you've changed your mind. Please.

There is not always a right decision

Sometimes both decisions you are presented with have different but equally good opportunities. In that case, lucky you! You have two amazing opportunities and therefore cannot mess up. Rather than stressing that you are picking the wrong choice, know that you cannot go wrong in either.

Realize you will grow no matter what

Decision-making should be viewed as a challenge and a privilege rather than a burden. Make big, bold and beautiful decisions. Making up your mind can lead to a phenomenal experience that you will adore or a difficult experience that will only fashion you into a better person. Positive consequences can come out of any decision, even if we land in an upsetting position. Each choice we make can positively contribute to our character, fashioning us into the person we are becoming, day by day.

By the time this article is published, I will know my decision. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know yours. Let's continue to make decisions courageously, following both our heads and our hearts. Let's be determined to grow through our decisions, realizing that we have made the best choice we could, and never looking back.

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