By Sophia Yakumithis

This afternoon, I was sitting in my apartment, choking down an episode of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and actually enjoying myself for once. A cool breeze emanated from my idyllic bay window. As I sipped on an iced coffee, the beautiful sounds of the Mass. Pike ambiently filled the room. The cesspool of drama happening on my laptop screen was then, however, rudely interrupted by a voice in my head: “Go outside. It’s sunny. You should be getting Vitamin D.”

Since when do I care about my Vitamin D levels? I was perfectly content two seconds prior to generating that thought. I was well-hydrated and surprisingly ahead of schedule in my academic work. I had objectively zero concrete responsibilities—aside from breathing—and was perfectly happy in my existence. My brain, however, needed to find something to make me feel useless, because it hadn’t in a couple of hours, so it went for the jugular: my Vitamin D levels, apparently. 

I feel like all of my friends who are in college right now consider themselves on a never-ending struggle bus ride. For some of them, though, it’s more than that. I know more students than not who slave over 20 credit-hour schedules while juggling activity after activity, leadership position after leadership position. It’s sad, frankly.

Yes, a great deal of that pressure, maybe even the majority of it, is self-induced. On the other hand, a grotesque obsession with being productive, exhibiting assertiveness, attaining the best internship or having the closest relationship with your department head is projected onto college students and has seeped so deeply into the culture of higher education that having a poor well being is essentially accepted with the “package” of college enrollment. And I’m not confident that we can reverse this damage en masse. We have to start somewhere, though. 

As someone who has been through the collegiate ringer and has largely given up on impressing the world of academia, I have a poor track record when it comes to finding online resources that actually give productive advice on how to calm down. The amount of times someone on the internet has suggested “going to a coffee shop” as a means to stop feeling miserable is absurd. Is that concept really revolutionary to people? As if some hipster barista wearing a HUF beanie named “Sage” can cure all my problems with a lavender honey latte. 

I, however, think that I can at least provide the college students of today with wholesome content that’s wholesome enough to keep you, at the minimum, “okay” for the start of the semester. Here’s a list of 12 completely random positive thoughts that I have held to my heart this week as I cower in completely valid fear of the ideological mess that baby boomers have placed on my generation. Hopefully, this will help you endure a “less-bad” college experience.

  1. Sock monkey body pillows exist
  2. Otters like to hold hands
  3. Any memory involving a birthday cake 
  4. Elderly couples
  5. When America realized that Amanda Bynes also played Penelope Taynt on “The Amanda Show”
  6. Spontaneously getting a frozen treat on a hot day
  7. Wearing mittens when it’s cold out
  8. The fact that manatees have fingernails so they can scratch their backs
  9. Ducklings following their mom around for guidance
  10. Any human being who isn’t the person in the apartment above me stomping around all the time
  11. When someone has enough money and “pays it forward” at Starbucks
  12. Lastly, and I can not stress this one enough, caterpillars. If you can’t find one outside, just Google some pictures or watch some videos of them inching around and you’ll feel amazing, temporarily.

Mind you, these are not long term resources. Just for immediate moments of complete panic. I hope this helps someone.