This school year, my mom has challenged me to choose joy in everything I do. But what does choosing joy actually mean? According to the dictionary, joy is the emotion of great delight, the expression or display of glad feeling. That sounds like something I am going to need this year.

Like everyone else, I too, am human. Life can be hard. There are things I would rather avoid than experience. I get upset. I get worried. I get stressed. I have trouble choosing joy.

In my short twenty years, I have stumbled onto the path of choosing negative. Choosing to complain. Choosing not to find joy.

Now, don't get me wrong. I want to choose joy and I have chosen joy. More times in my life I have found joy than not. But with the new school year, all of my responsibilities have come flooding back into my life. But through this, I want to make every opportunity a positive!

However, my goal this year is not to find happiness. My life's purpose is not to be happy. It is to be joyful.

To me, happiness can become a band-aid. It is a patch that covers other emotions that we are trying to protect ourselves from. For example, in teamwork relationships, I might be struggling with members of my group. But to be "happy" I slap on a smiling face and pretend everything is okay. NO!!! Instead, I want to recognize how I feel, frustrated, upset, etc and reflect on why I feel that way. Then and only then, can I say, choose joy. Find the positive. Find a way to communicate how I feel and become a stronger teammate through that.

On an academic level, I can choose joy. Yes, of course, the last thing I want is to stay up until the wee hours of the morning writing about Shakespeare. Of course, the last thing I want to do is read fifty pages in one night. But, I will do it anyway and I will do it joyfully. I am personally blessed to be attending my wonderful university and I am blessed to be working towards a career I love. And if that means I need to be writing pages on pages to be successful this year. I will do so and I WILL do it joyfully.

Everything in life is choice. What we do, what we say, how we act, how we respond, it is all a choice. So yes, while at times it may be hard to choose joy and act joyfully, I will choose it every time.