- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 13 April 2016
- Written by LAUREN NIESZ | HEAD COPY EDITOR
A lot of us are always looking for ways to improve our mental health and wellbeing, especially being that we are constantly under stress and pressure at school. One quick and easy solution to the school blues that is so simple that we often overlook it, is simply saying “yes” to various opportunities.
There are a lot of opportunities that arise throughout our time at college. Sometimes we think we’re too busy or that we can’t take anything else on in our time at Monmouth, so we say no to a lot of opportunities. But, college is our time to be young and silly and take chances. College is the homestretch before real life begins, so we should really take all of the chances we can because when we have a job, families, etc. these chances and risks could have an impact on many more people and things in our lives than just ourselves.
Saying yes to more things has a huge impact on our mental orientation; it has the power to make a person more positive. Associate professor of psychology, Dr. Janice Stapley, says, “It is better for your outlook to be generally optimistic.” She continues, “When you look back people have more regret about not taking on things than about taking them on.” Stapley gives the scenario of a student who declines to take a course that s/he is genuinely interested in taking because s/he is afraid that it will affect his/her GPA. She believe that taking academic risks and saying “yes” to academic opportunities that Monmouth has to offer is very wise to do. She says, “I have more experience with students being disappointed at not having taken a risk.” Stapley qualifies this by saying that risks should be “calculated.” For example, maybe taking the risk to go to a party in a sketchy part of town with people you’re not sure of wouldn’t be the best idea, but taking the calculated risk of taking on another academic endeavor would be positive.
Stapley also brought up the academic opportunity of studying abroad and says that she hasn’t had one student come back from a study abroad experience and said that they didn’t gain a lot from the journey. For most students, studying abroad is the greatest time in their college careers. This is something that a lot of us would deny the offer for because “it’s too expensive,” “I don’t have enough free electives,” or “It’ll set me back too far for graduation,” but this is the time that we have now, while we are still young and carefree, to experience these things. When we graduate, we won’t really have the time to be travelling, at least not right away; so, we should take advantage of opportunities like studying abroad now.
Ally Afanador, sophomore English student, went on an alternative spring break trip this semester to London, England and said of her experience: “It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I was given an opportunity and saying ‘yes’ even though it was insanely terrifying also gave me the ability to say that I faced a fear and I had the best time of my life.”
Facing our fears is so important. By agreeing to do things that are slightly out of our comfort zones, we learn to take baby steps into trying new things. The idea that something is “new,” is terrifying in itself, but doing new things is what life is all about.
Afanador also said, “It’s really cliché, but ‘you only live once’ has so much truth to it. We’re really only given these opportunities once in our lives.” She’s right. The opportunities that we have now will never be the same in the future, so we might as well take them on now.
As a former “negative Nelly,” I can truly say that saying “yes” to more experiences and opportunities has had an incredible impact on my own life. But, this isn’t a change that can be made suddenly. For me, I found a friend who really helped me open up and realize that we can’t miss out on all of the opportunity around us. I’ve said “yes” to so many more experiences this semester like going to California with The Outlook, going on the SAB trip to Disney this past spring break, and going to a bunch of free events on campus. If I hadn’t done these things, I wouldn’t have made all of the new friends I have this year and I wouldn’t be as happy with my college experience. Furthermore, saying “yes” to these things truly has made me a more optimistic and happy person than I once was.
Jaclyn Ferriso, junior accounting major and recent new member of the campus sorority Alpha Sigma Tau, said of her experience rushing, “The idea of accepting a bid to any organization could be scary or intimidating at first because it’s something new, but it was definitely hands down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’ve definitely found my home at Monmouth within Alpha Sigma Tau!”
Monmouth has so much to offer that it is hard to say “yes” to all of it, but if you find some things, which it is hard not to, that you can get involved with, you most definitely will not regret it. Avoid that end of year FOMO and start saying “yes” to things on campus and to positive opportunities in life.
Tina Fey once said, “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” So, lets make our choices now based on the little time we have left to experience all of the new things we possibly can.