Senior Advice: Do what makes you happy

Caitlin Husted, Editor in Chief

Over the four years I’ve spent on this campus, I’d like to say I’ve developed some wisdom to impart on the underclassman. The most life changing advice I’ve learned recently is rather simple: due what makes you happy.

Since my first day at Millikin, I’ve been working toward the goal of doing my best so I could have a good career after I graduate. I went to class and did all my homework in order to get good grades to keep a high GPA. I immersed myself in extracurriculars, probably more than I should have, so I had plenty of experience to put on my resume after graduation. I stayed in on weekend nights in order to work on papers and spent my breaks working on homework in order to stay on top of all my activities and classwork.

If I did all this stuff and was able to get a good job after I graduated I figured it would all be worth it. However, as senior year rolled around, I began to think a little differently.

Starting this year, I was determined to tackle my classes and activities with the same vigor I had shown in years past. Oddly enough, I found myself burn out rather quickly. Not only that, but I realized I was doing things only because it felt like I had to, not because I wanted to.

With being promoted to many leadership roles around campus, I tried to give my all to each and every activity. It wasn’t until a few weeks in to the semester that I realized how much I was missing out on. By spending countless hours working on classwork and various other work for my extracurriculars, I rarely saw my friends. It sunk in one night that this was my last year at Millikin. It was my last year to go out to dinner with my friends or watch movies until 3 a.m. It was my last time for a lot of things, and I was missing out.

I also realized how unhappy I managed to become by trying to a) make other people happy and b) to go above and beyond to ensure a good job after graduation. I made a decision to prioritize what I was involved in and do things that truly made me happy.

For me, this meant instead of doing a workout that I knew would burn a lot of calories I did something that was more fun. An afternoon of Zumba? A relaxing morning or yoga? A HIIT workout? I did whatever I wanted to. By doing this, workouts became fun again and a stress reliever.

Since I couldn’t just drop all my activities and leave people in a lurch, I learned how to ask other people to help and to prioritize what I actually needed to do and what I could have others work on. I began to say “no,” to people when they asked me to pick up another activity, something I was always hard for me to do.

I also began being okay with not being perfect. It was okay to get a B on a paper if I had a lot of other stuff to do and decided to sleep instead of pulling an all-nighter to make the paper perfect. It was okay to admit that some days I can’t do all the readings my teachers assign for class (shhhhh don’t tell them).

More importantly, I learned that spending time with my friends is my top priority during our last year at Millikin. Because after graduation, we will all go our separate ways to our own lives, and soaking up as much time with them as I can before then became a top priority.

So take it from a senior used-to-be-perfectionist: It’s okay to do what makes you happy, even if it means a few unimportant things fall through the cracks.