To be honest, I was utterly frustrated by my senior year of college.

It seemed like nothing worked out. My friendships (or what is left of them after that solitudinous year) were some of the only redeeming parts of the year for me other than the fact that I graduated. My first semester, I worked on homework like a double-shift every day including weekends and holidays– except for four days — (That’s right. I counted). My roommates started to think there were only five residents in the apartment– which was partially true. I began wondering if I should have my mail sent to my upstairs study-cubby in the library. All I needed was a mail box, really… and a mini-fridge.

I was fervently awaiting the next semester, sure that it would be easier or (if worse came to worse) equally difficult to that current semester. Despite my innocent assumptions, it was even harder– and it was the semester that I realized that my major really couldn’t fulfill what I wanted to do with my life– or rather that me in my major couldn’t fulfill what I wanted to do with my life (that is another blog post all together). I became excessively stressed and upset. At one point, several professors from my department and I had severe worry over whether or not I was going to graduate. It didn’t seem real. I was “that kid”.

In high school and college I was the overachiever– the honors student, the student leader, the major-with-two-minors-type.

But that last semester almost did me in– I would occasionally wake up in severe pain and the stress would force me into twelve or thirteen hours of sleep as well as induced inconvenient nap times just to function. I had a headache which lasted about 30 hours one weekend. For once in my life I was truly, totally, and gracelessly being emotionally and physically destroyed by my situation to a point where I knew there was no redeeming it and I just needed to accept that my absolute best was to try to survive and hopefully I could limp across the stage to get my diploma.

I felt like I was dying– and I was truly convinced that I wasn’t going to make it out of there.

I was sad that I was excited to leave college at the end. I was sad I was counting the days until I was out of there. Overall, college really had been the best four years of my life and I was sad that for the last year I waited for every day to pass– not in excitement for my graduation, but in relief that there were less grueling hours to live through. I guess I just wish that I had been happier.

Happiness was something I dwelled on a lot for the last year of college. Simply because I knew I didn’t have it anymore.

People used to tell me that happiness couldn’t come from your situation. I even used to tell that to people. However, now I think that is only partially true.There are people out there who have a “good” life but they are unhappy inside and so it ruins their “happy” situation. However, there are perfectly happy people who are thrust into situations where they really can’t be happy all the time– like realizing that friends you had weren’t who you thought they were, or having everything about your life change and having to adjust, or realizing that a dream you had for your future didn’t fulfill your hopes in the way you wished it would. Sometimes you just need to get away. I mean, why else would we take vacations, or need “alone time”, or need to get out of the house. We need a few “happy” situations in our lives, I think. I don’t think anyone should be expected to stay happy when there are little to no “happy” moments.

I almost turned down the JET program because I was unhappy.

In fact, when I read the email that I had made it in, I didn’t even tell anyone until a few days into Spring Break– a whopping nine days after receiving the email. I needed a break so I could scrounge up enough happiness to celebrate at least a little bit with the people I would tell. Even then, I only had enough to celebrate that I had made it in. I still wasn’t happy enough to actually accept.

I spent the majority of Spring Break trying to remember why I had spent the last four years dreaming about JET.

I wanted to be safe. I just wanted things to be easy for once. I was in the middle of the hardest year of my life and coming home to live with mom and dad for two years sounded like just enough time to recover from the hell senior year had been so far. However, choosing to live at home over Japan didn’t sound like a decision I would make at all. I was always a cautious person, but I never took the “easy” way out.  I chose one of the more emotionally-trying careers as my major, the first class I ever taught I was thrown into in an emergency, I was an orientation leader at my school for multiple years (even though I am so introverted I’m almost a hermit). I push myself out of my comfort zone ALL THE TIME. Don’t take me wrong. There is nothing wrong with living at home and I wouldn’t have seen myself any less if I had chosen that path and it’s not like living at home doesn’t have its own set of challenges.

I guess I just didn’t want a year of unhappiness to make the decision about Japan. I wanted to make that decision.

Now that it is summer, I have been able to have the “vacation” I so badly needed and slowly the happiness is returning. The more I take the time to enjoy this happy moment, the more I know I will have the happiness and the energy it takes to take on my next biggest challenge– JET life.

I just have to remember one thing.

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