A word of encouragement

Staff Writer — Teresa Taylor

Welcome back to Dordt University for the spring semester. I trust your break was restful and productive and you are now on the right path for a healthy and happy semester. If so, keep up the good work and peace be with you.

Or maybe your break didn’t look that way. Maybe you had a stressful break. Maybe you returned home to repressed memories, unresolved conflict, and family problems. Maybe you returned to campus in a sour mood, already feeling the pressure of the semester, the papers you have to write, the readings you are wondering if you can skip or skim, the classes you do not want to take. 

Now that we’re a few weeks in, maybe you’ve settled into a steady rhythm, or maybe you’re finding yourself stuck in a routine that does not work. Maybe you are doubting yourself, your abilities, your choices, your friends, your faith. Maybe you already feel as if you are falling behind, running to catch a bus that will never stop. Maybe you are a freshman in your second semester, still settling into college life, or maybe you are in your final semester as a senior, with no idea what you will do after graduation. Maybe you’re ready to tackle whatever comes your way, or maybe you feel hurried, numb, uninspired. Maybe you have forgotten why you are here.

Well, let me remind you. You are here because you value your education, because you are doing something great with your life. You are working towards a degree you will use to improve the world around you, leaving it at least a little more beautiful than how you found it. 

Just as this life is preparation for the one after, this phase of life is preparation for the next. We are building. Just as this life matters, this phase of life matters. It would not do to simply go through it without looking around a bit. Please do not forsake your studies but do remember that you have a life to live right now too, not just after graduation. You must find the balance, the homeostatic range of your day and your soul, and live within that balance.

And yeah, I understand how difficult that is, trust me. It takes a lot of work, but it is worth it. You are worth that. Today is worth living well, despite whatever happens. They say life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it and, though I don’t deal with numbers much, I find I agree with them.

 Now, I am not saying everything is just in your head and so it doesn’t matter blah, blah, blah. I am saying you have a level of control over how you respond, the situations you allow yourself to stay in, the thoughts you choose to dwell on. Know yourself and know your limits.

A great thing about this little community we have here at Dordt University, I think, is that truly has your best interest at heart. Though we may not always agree on what that best interest is, we are here to support each other. 

So, if you’re having a rough time, if you need a healthy distraction, if you want to add spice to the mundane, go to the people around you. They’re pretty cool if you take the time to get to know them. If you aren’t getting along with your friends or roommates, talk to them about it. Work it out. Life is too sweet to sour with discord. Surround yourself with people who build you up and return that support and encouragement to them.

Go into this semester with a positive attitude. Give enjoying your 8:00 a.m.’s and 2:00 p.m.’s a shot. Never fake a smile, but do not feel bad if you have to force one from time to time. Take yourself seriously. Take your classes seriously. But also, don’t forget to live a little. Keep your head up and have a great day and semester.

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