Welcome to both a new year and a new semester at Shippensburg University. No matter how the last ones ended, I am sure you can find something great this time around. The new semester and new year bring new challenges, but also new happinesses. Whether or not you believe in a clean slate (pun intended), both certainly can be. It may be more difficult, but that does not mean it will be any less wonderful.
Personally, I tend to focus on the end a lot more than the beginning. Every New Year’s Eve, I write myself a letter. I sit with sparkling grape juice in hand just before the ball drops and reflect on what I have experienced and where I feel that I am. This year, I wrote that I really could not hate 2022, as I felt I sincerely tried my best. Lots of good came of it, but — as the universe does its best to stay balanced — a lot of bad came with it.
Yet, this year I learned one of the most important lessons I ever have. I have this constant, nagging feeling that I am missing out. That I am alone because no one knows this, no one else could possibly feel this way. No matter how much I do, no matter how much I experience, I feel that nothing can fill this terrible void inside me. This year I aimed to tackle this emptiness, but kept coming up, well, empty.
I realized quickly that the solution was to try my best to love everything around me and accept some of those things that I did not love so much. I learned to say “yes” and “no” when I was previously afraid to do so. I looked at myself as a whole person instead of a hollow one. The hole in my heart had to be filled, and I filled it with genuine love.
There are a couple suggestions I have for you if you are looking to pack in a similar space within you. Look at your life. Take that extra minute to look up at the stars when you are making the trek back from the student parking lot. Realize that you are so dearly loved. Wear a hat and enjoy the feeling of being warm. Cook a really wonderful meal for really wonderful people. Do something small every day that sparks genuine joy in the part of your heart that you have not felt since you were young. Drink a glass of chocolate milk — for real.
This semester and this year can both truly be fantastic things. If you just try a little bit every day, things can turn around quicker than expected. You have likely grown so much since last year began, and if no one has told you yet, I am proud of you. All you can do now is keep going.