happiness: a constitutional right

Finals is a tough time. Today I woke up and I knew I wanted to write something, but no original ideas have really been coming to me. The focus on memorizing the steps of a factorial ANOVA statistical test have been really taking it out of me, and although I’m almost done, I’ve been struggling to stay motivated. When stressing about things like finals, it’s also really easy to start stressing about seemingly unrelated issues.

My first year in Richmond is drawing to a close, and because of this I’ve been reflecting a lot. I was making the decision to transfer here a year ago, waiting on tenterhooks for my acceptance letter and dreading the reaction my parents would have when I told them I wanted to uproot my life and move to a city that doesn’t always have the best reputation for safety. When I finally got my acceptance letter, their reaction was not what I hoped it would be, and I had set the bar low. They didn’t want me to transfer, but after a summer of coaxing they agreed–as long as I kept my grades up and got involved in research (which was my best argument for transferring, and not a false one either).

Now, a year later, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not this was the right decision for me, and although there have been a few hardships, the answer is an overwhelmingly enthusiastic yes. I’ve never been happier than I am now, living in a crappy apartment outside the city, commuting every day to hole up in the library and study for my exams. I couldn’t be more excited for the next two years of undergrad, with a beautiful apartment lined up in the city and friends I love. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t ignored my parents advice to ride it out and move elsewhere for grad school. Thinking about my life, sometimes I can’t even believe what a success the move has been so far, or how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to do something like this.

The moral of the story is this: chase your own happiness. It’s not always easy, it may not pay off immediately, and you will get discouraged along the way, but it is always worth it. I know I spout a lot of crap like this, but I can’t overstate how much it’s improved my life to be happy like this. It’s like my life has finally started for real, and I’m so excited.

P.S. Richmond is a great city for art; please enjoy this completely unrelated photo of my favorite mural I’ve seen so far!



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