Editor's Letter: Don't Worry, Be Happy

Welcome back readers and writers after a what was hopefully a lovely Christmas break – despite revision and essay writing! Now we are in 2016 it’s not long till Ella and I graduate which is quite a scary thought. This means it is also not long until we say goodbye to our editing roles in Her Campus and pass on the baton of Campus Correspondent to others. We were thrilled to find out that our chapter level has been increased from Bronze to Gold after last term. This means that all the entertaining, diverse and innovative articles really paid off and we are looking forward to even more of the same this term. We have already started off the first week of content with some extremely interesting pieces like Ilka’s article on the unsettling popularity of trends like the "underboob challenge" which are seriously harming women’s body image. Tash also wrote a very topical and insightful article feeding back on the discussion about de-colonising Bristol’s Curriculum. Bethan provided us with a thought provoking piece on women’s over-use of "sorry" in the work place whilst Jess talked about the need for discipline over motivation in the new year.

In light of Jess’s article, I had a think about the kind of resolutions and goals I want to make for 2016. This is a big year as it’s not only the year that marks my graduation but also my first proper job as a teacher for the charity Teach First. It’s safe to say I am feeling slightly apprehensive about the prospect of real life and adulthood looming around the corner! It has got me thinking though, about how I want to spend my last months in Bristol knowing that university life is something that only happens once. Jess’ article has certainly inspired me to be more disciplined about things so I have been trying to go to the gym more often as exercise and sport definitely don’t come naturally to me – I am certainly no Kayla Itsines (and I’m very glad about that to be honest).

However, as much as I want to keep disciplined, my main aim for these last months of Bristol is to have fun, be spontaneous and try to say YES instead of NO because it is easy to lose perspective sometimes and get yourself bogged down in work. It’s all too common to let the burden of work and other tasks weigh us down so that we become irritable and project negativity onto others. We’re all guilty of it. Taking it out on your housemates and friends who might only be asking you a polite question about your day just because you are feeling stressed and under pressure. It is definitely okay to feel stressed and it’s definitely okay to be open about it but it can’t be something that overrules our happiness and positive communication with others. Especially not when we are at university, which is supposed to be the most fun and carefree time of our lives. So it’s not that I’m saying to try and ignore everything we have on. The opposite – it’s right to acknowledge the work and the stress that you feel but it’s how you deal with this that is most important. Keep a mindful approach to everything by constantly taking steps back. We should view the "to – do" list as a distant object that we can remove ourselves from and not something that determines our day-to-day mood. It’s all about keeping perspective. Of course, in this university environment, we will all do our best to be disciplined and get things done as best we can, like Jess suggested. But I think we all need a reminder sometimes that if it doesn’t get done, or if we find it all too much, it is not worth becoming unhappy about.

(Image credit: Sun beams quote, Tumblr)

Feeling stressed is normal and something we deal with at university all the time, but the problem arises when this starts to compromise our happiness and the happiness of those around us.Walking through the door after a long day of work shouldn’t be a time to rant and stress about the hard day we've had but it should be a time to let go, forget and relax with our friends. If we start to compartmentalise a bit more, those tasks can stay on the "to-do list" and not hinder having that bottle of wine or bar of chocolate with your friends. It’s often easier to talk about the things that are going badly than the things that are actually going well. However, we should avoid turning everything into something negative – see things as challenging opportunities not burdens.

So that’s my encouragement for myself and everyone else. To remain disciplined and motivated, yes. But overall, to keep perspective and enjoy. And if you’re doing something that isn’t making you happy you have to ask yourself why it isn’t and how can I change this? So the next time someone asks you for drinks and you think you shouldn’t, why not just say YES. I apologise if this all sounds a bit sickly and like I’ve regurgitated a self-help book or something. But, I really do believe that we should make the most of this time of our lives and put our happiness first because absolutely everyone deserves that. After all, this is the time for us to enjoy being young, fun and 21.