I've been at UT-Arlington for 3 years now, and I'm starting to realize something- college is hard. Like, really hard. Classes are hard, social stuff is hard, financial stuff is hard, getting out of bed is hard, you get the idea. The next thing you know, you're drowning in stress and anxiety, and as you slowly make your way to a Thursday 8 am you start to seriously consider dropping out of school and joining the circus. Fortunately, as a third year college student and president of a fraternity, I've finally started to learn a thing or two about staying alive and not going (completely) crazy.
1. Coffee- Originally this was going to be "Make Yourself A Morning Person," but if I'm totally honest, I'm still not a morning person. I am, however, a coffee person. The only thing on my mind when I crawl out of my bed at 6 a.m. every morning is that first cup of coffee (and the 2nd one and the 3rd and 4th....) The point is- find something to get you out of bed in the morning. Whether it's espresso or breakfast foods or simply the excitement of a new day (ew), find something to grab on and hold on to, because making your mornings efficient will make you exponentially more productive and able to cope with homework or whatever else you need to get done that you've been procrastinating. The result is more time to do things and more things getting done means less stress.
2. High Quality Friends- This is perhaps one of the most important things on my list. Somewhere between my 3rd and 4th major change and 1,000th and 1,001st anxiety attack, I realized that I would not have gotten anywhere in college without my friends. Even the most independent person on the planet has a bad day every once in a while. Make sure you have someone to pick you up when that day comes.
3. Low Quality Wine- Let's be honest; most college students don't know the difference between high and low quality wine. The idea is, however, a low quality bottle of wine is cheap and fun to share. It's important to take to time and let yourself relax with friends every once in a while, and it doesn't have to include alcohol, but the point is to loosen up a bit and let yourself forget all the bullshit that is stressing you out at any given moment.
4. Run- Seriously. Run. It sucks, but if you do it enough, there's a chance that later on it will suck a bit less. It's also good for you, and no matter how bad it hurts to do, you always feel good about yourself when you're done. It builds confidence and clears your mind and releases stress and makes you more photogenic. So go run.
5. Learn To Cook- Cooking is great for many reasons. First, it slows you down so you're less likely to binge eat all day long. Second, it tends to be healthier, unless you're pouring cheese and butter on everything. Third, I've been told that girls find it attractive. Fourth, creating delicious food takes your mind off of the fact that you've procrastinated studying and now you have 5 tests in 4 days that you're unprepared for. And finally, it's a great way to procrastinate!
6. Family- Just as I would have gotten nowhere in college without my friends, I wouldn't have even gotten to college in the first place without my family. Take a moment to appreciate that. Furthermore, take a moment to appreciate that they'll still be there even when you think you've failed them at every turn. Family doesn't even have to be biological. We all have a "family" that has made us into who we are today, whether it's actual family, adopted family, church family, school family, etc. Your family loves you, and the fact that you got a 98 instead of 100 on that one quiz won't change that, so let yourself relax a little bit.
7. God- I have never been a very outward person with my faith. Partly because I'm still trying to figure it out for myself. And I know if you're not a particularly "church-y" person you'll be rolling your eyes and skipping this paragraph, but bear with me here. I'm not trying to say that the key to life is going to church on Sunday and throwing money in an offering tray (although that's not a bad idea.) But deep in every single one of us, no matter what beliefs or faith (or lack thereof) we hold, there is a void that craves spirituality. Many people find the best way to fill that void is church and worship and mission work, but the truth is, while the church belongs to God, God does not belong to the church. He belongs to us all, and I'm simply arguing that if you open up to finding Him, you will. Take a walk through nature. Do some volunteer work. Think about the people you love and the people who love you. Do these things and keep your heart open and I promise you that eventually you will have a moment of tremendous awe, a moment where the switch flips and you realize that you are a part of something much greater than yourself, and in that moment whatever stress you may have been holding on to you will leave and in its place will be peace and harmony and it will be good. All will be good.The best part is, whatever you decide to do with that moment is yours and yours alone. Some people feel the call to go and tell everyone about it and help them find God for themselves through church and mission work. I choose to do so in a more indirect way. I keep it to myself unless someone asks and let my actions speak for themselves. So trust me. Go try and find God. You won't be disappointed.
So, coffee, high quality friends, low quality wine, running, cooking, family, and God. The seven keys to a happy life. You heard it here first, folks.