12 Rules To Being Happy In College

****Disclaimer: These tips/rules are based on my own experience, and I don’t pretend to have it all figured out because I don’t. I do however, think I can give some advice to those you may want some help in this area in regards of college. It’s a crazy world out there and sometimes an outside perspective would serve some people well and remind them of what’s really important in life. Enter: Me.

The most important thing to remember while reading these rules is that, just like in life, every rule has an exception. This does NOT mean you are the exception, but everyone’s experiences in life are different and sometimes people get lucky.

Rule #1: You do you

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Ugly naked guy on NBC’s FRIENDS always stayed true to himself throughout the series. He didn’t care what people thought of him, and didn’t worry about what people might say. He let all of NYC know this! To be happy in college you have to to do the same, you have to be you. Don’t be someone else, nor should you be something somebody else wants you to be. You do you, with clothes on, and you’re one step closer to ensuring happiness in college.

Rule #2: Everything in moderation

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This goes for video games, food, homework, TV, friends, extra-curricular activities, social media, Buzzfeed reading, and Netflix. Too much of anything is never good for you, and having too little of something important like food, free time, or exercise will not be beneficial either. Balance is key to anything in life; success, sanity, and happiness. Correctly prioritizing things will help bring that balance into your life as well.

Rule #3: Live in the present

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All of us at college spend a little too much time thinking about our futures. Many of us spend so much time we forget to look at what is right in front of us. Always asking those “what if” questions are just going to drive you insane, and there are so many things between now and graduation that are out of your control. Do what you must to build a network to be successful, but also enjoy college. It’s an amazing place, and it provides unique experiences you can’t get anywhere else.

Rule #4: Don’t take things personally

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Another way to say this rule would be, don’t be too self-centered, (Like Miss Piggy.) or you could say it’s another rendition of Rule #1.  Joan Rivers was a master of never taking things personally and testing people’s abilities to NOT take things personally. (Miss Piggy too…she is so sassy.) So laugh, like Joan did, to jokes people may say about you and don’t take life to seriously. Remember as well that college is a time to take criticisms from your peers and professionals and the only reason they are are critiquing you is to make you better. Accept. Adapt. Change. Move Forward.

Rule #4: Say sorry then forgive and forget

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Look, we all make mistakes. We are not perfect. Own this and say you’re sorry. Remember this when you get all angry about something. Now, life is short. Being mad at someone or something for a long period just doesn’t make sense because all it does is take more energy out of you, makes things difficult, and consumes your life with a truckload of negatives. You can’t be happy when you’re always thinking negatively. Ask yourself: In the big picture of life, does this really matter? Most likely it doesn’t. Don’t lose a friend over something so small and unimportant. Talk it out. Listen. Make changes. And forgive. You’ll be happier, I promise.

Rule #5: Balance weekend fun and staying in

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Extroverts: Saying NO to going to that sports game, to that movie, or to that concert on campus is okay. (see rule #6 for advice on how to say no.)

Introverts: Saying YES to going to that sports game, to that movie, or to that concert on campus is okay.

Again, it is all about balance. You’ll go crazy if you spend too much time in your room or if you don’t spend enough time in your room focused on important things like your homework. Happiness is just beyond balance of work and play.

Rule #6: Say no, nicely

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BREAKING: You don’t have to do EVERYTHING. Saying no is important to your success in college. Overloading on commitments will cause you to drop things that you cannot in college. Like going to class, or something like sleeping. THIS IS NOT OKAY. People will understand if you say no, and knowing your limits is not a weakness….it’s a strength.

Rule #7: Some things take time

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These days we expect things to come at us fast; text messages, food, emails, and the Internet. However in reality, many things are better if they go at a much slower speed; relationships, “finding yourself,” and finding a mentor just to name a few. These things that take time are some of the most vital to your success as a student. This is why they have to take time, because they cannot be the wrong fit for you. So don’t force anything just to get it over with. In the end it will come and bite you from behind. Good things come to those who wait, my friends.

Rule #8: Ask for help

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We all need assistance from time to time. There’s no shame in asking for it. You actually look more weak not asking for help. Iowa State has many places just awaiting for students to come in and say “help me.” Whether it’s college, personal, or career there is someone here on campus  to help.

Rule #9: Treat yourself

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Spoil yourself every once and awhile. College is rough sometimes and it can take a lot out of you some days. Take a break, do something for yourself. Not for your friend, not for your mom, not for your roommate, do something for you and only you. Award yourself for a good job and hard work too, I mean that gallon of ice cream can’t eat itself.

Rule #10: Call home

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THIS JUST IN: Your parents are not as crazy as you think. They have seen many, many, many things in their lifetime and those things do give them insight to your newest problem. Sometimes in college we may feel lost and don’t know where we are going, but calling home takes us back to our roots and helps to give us new direction because we remember where we came from. Be sure to call and just say “I love you” too. Parents like that…trust me.

Rule #11: Take Risks

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If you never try something new, then that means you are going to be in the same place as you were yesterday. Nothing will have changed and you’ll still be unhappy. You have to proactive at being happy, which means you have to take risks. Go on that date, go to that event, ask that person next to you a question, and try the new pizza flavor. Taking calculated risks, calculated meaning the probability that you will die if you do take that risk is 0.000001, are what college is all about. Learning something new, trying something new, and finding that passion you didn’t know you had.

Rule #12: SLEEP

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Health is key to happiness. You can’t be happy if you’re sick. Sleep plays a major role in your well-being. So put that Netflix down and sleep instead. Force yourself to get that X number of hours of sleep each night. You will feel better, you will succeed, you will be healthier and you will be happier.

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