Okay, so I have a confession to make. It’s not a pretty one… I don’t like College Station. Sometimes, I even struggle liking the fact that I’m an Aggie.
Whew. That felt really nice to get off my chest.
Perhaps I should defend myself and explain why I feel this way. When I first arrived to Texas A&M, I was smitten. However, upon the beginning of year 2, I began to have a very different experience. Essentially, I encountered too many ignorant and closed minded people. I began to receive a lot of comments along the lines of “you’re only here because you’re a minority”, and other remarks of that nature. Perhaps a lot of it had to do with the election season, and college campuses can get quite rowdy with opinions. While I still don’t regret choosing to attend Texas A&M, you can imagine why it quickly became a place I wasn’t the most thrilled to be in (and how being rejected by other Ags made me feel outside the Aggie family).
Thankfully I have this unconventional philosophy that I should always seek personal development and growth, especially in situations where I am not most comfortable. I decided that instead of spending my last semester feeling sorry for myself and leading to self-inflicted misery, that I was going to make it my mission to take the opportunity to search for happiness in a place where I don’t enjoy being.
Returning to College Station after study abroad was an immense challenge for me. I had just spent the last four months of my life immersed in another culture, surrounded by people from all over the globe and their different world views. I also lived in a social environment that embraced diversity and open discussion. College Station is… well, not that at all. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things College Station has to offer, and it’s not so bad. However, I think most would agree that the culture norm in College Station is more conservative
After living in Buenos Aires, I came back to CStat almost disgusted by the ignorance I felt like I was surrounded by. Then I had to stop, and have a reality check with myself.
“Julz. Your opinions don’t make you a better person, your behavior does. You are not superior because you went to study abroad and feel more enlightened. Remember that not everyone gets the experience to gain perspective from travel- and there is nothing wrong with that. Your experiences shaped your world view, theirs helped shape theirs. Plus, it’s not really nice to be an elitist julz, you don’t even like elitists…”
((Yes, I speak to myself in the 3rd person. And yes, I also refer to myself as “julz”.))
As I was metaphorically eating a piece of humble pie, my kinesiology professor asked us all to write a goal for the semester. After some brief reflection over what I wanted out of my last semester of my undergraduate career, this is what I submitted as my goal:
“Even though you have many cool things coming up ahead in your future, this is your last semester as a college student. Learn to live in the moment of the semester and constantly choose and pursue to be happy every single day.”
I may not get to choose where I get to be at the moment, but I get to choose my attitude about it. While I’ve had negative experiences in the past, I don’t have to let those experiences dictate my attitude while living in College Station. Even though at times I’ve felt rejected by my institution, my degree here also played an integral role when I was being hired for my internship (which lead to full time employment a year in advance). There is too little time to waste being negative, and I have so much to be grateful for in the moment. I’m looking forward to spending my semester with all the people I’ve come to know as friends through my journey here. While I have many aspirations for my future, I also need to learn to be content in my present.
Here is my challenge to you, Reader: Choose happiness today, and try to say no to negativity. There are numerous studies that prove how infections negativity is, and also numerous studies that prove how much positivity can affect one’s happiness.
How do I begin this pursuit of happiness?
Definitely easier said than done & it is always a process.
As a baby step, I’d recommend beginning by suppressing negative thoughts. For every negative thing you think/complain about- find 2 positive things to express gratitude for. Try it for even a week, the results I think will really surprise you.
With all my love, Julietta