College slump hit me sooner than I expected. I suspected that I would experience an eventual lack of motivation to do anything, in sophomore, or even junior year. It came in the second semester of my first year, and I was not ready for it.
I felt like a failure.
I wasn’t getting the grades I wanted, I had writer’s block on a daily basis, and I didn’t want to leave my bed (New England weather is insanely cold anyway — we had a snow day in mid-March). The second spring break ended, I hoped with all of my heart that if I blinked my eyes, it would be summer vacation. Who needs a college education, anyway?
I let it go.
This is when it’s okay to cry alone in a dark room, and it really, really, helps. I hate crying. For me, crying means I was unable to handle the situation in a mature, practical way. Crying also means having to deal with the drowsy exhaustion that comes afterward. On an exceptionally gloomy and cold April afternoon, I woke up from a five hour nap after six hours of doing nothing and cried.
I found a ray of sunshine.
It was as if some divine force (God, maybe) was waiting for me to let it go. Within the next week, I was offered e-board positions in all of my clubs, my writer’s block vanished, and I scored a freelance writing job. I was happy, and I was grateful.
From then on, I firmly believed that even on your worst days, there will always be a small, positive something that you will discover. I opened a new, small pocketbook, and wrote on the first page: “Daily Positivity Journal”, and then I decorated it with a bunch of stickers and hearts because why not.
My entries are never too long. Some excerpts:
April 29, 2018
– The weather was perfect today. The air was cool but the sun was warm on my face. It made me feel good.
– I said hi to a bunch of people on my way to class today. They made me feel happy.
– God bless this chocolate ice cream from the dining hall.
– I had dinner with Rachel today. It felt great catching up with her.
May 3, 2018
– I bombed that Philosophy final. But I’m just really glad I got it over with! I think I’ll take a break from americano today. Time to celebrate with a caramel macchiato with LOTS of whipped cream~
– The macchiato was amazing. No regrets.
September 15, 2018
– I was super productive today — got so much done. Let’s keep it up!
– Called mom. It was nice talking to her. I miss her. Can’t wait to see her (and dad) in December!A happy day doesn't have to be a day full of big celebration or a party. It's the little things, the peeping rays of sunshine, that add up to shine your day. Click To Tweet
I found ways to smile.
Focusing on the small things that you may have not even noticed during your day can really help you feel more positive about that day. A happy day doesn’t have to be a day full of big celebration or a party. It’s the little things, the peeping rays of sunshine, that add up to shine your day.
Once I started writing down all the things that made me feel happy, I felt like a happier person. My semi-permanent scowl smoothed out. I smiled more, and genuinely felt better. I felt pretty damn down during my slump but I pulled through, and ever since I started journaling, I haven’t fallen.
I’m not saying this means I’m permanently happy nor will you be if you start a positivity journal. Some days are just plain rough and stressful. Positive journaling helped me think that things could have been worse. In fact, writing things out helped me clear my mind that was blurred by initial anger and confusion.
I learned how to understand and to forgive. I learned that if I didn’t forgive and let things go, the only person who felt emotional burden was going to be me. And that’s not fair. I deserve to be happy. So, I’m going to actively look and concentrate on the things that make me feel good about myself and my surroundings.I learned that if I didn't forgive and let things go, the only person who felt emotional burden was going to be me. And that's not fair. I deserve to be happy. Click To Tweet
I found my medium.
We all have different ways of coping with stress and striving to be more positive. In fact, these two simple steps for feeling sane in college may work a lot better for some of us. Although I can’t guarantee that positive journaling will work for you, I would still recommend you to give it a shot. I can’t help you win the lottery, or get an A on that midterm next week, but I sure can help you find your own daily rays of sunshine. And always remember: you deserve to be happy.