Finding your niche

About a month ago, I was sitting in my psychological statistics final. The lights flickered on and off and the walls oozed green slime. (I applaud anyone who understood that reference!) The room temp was anything but comfortable and the gentleman behind me kept sighing loudly, his hot breath like a sickening palm to the back of my neck.

There was a perpetual sliding noise of papers as the 200-plus psych students flipped the pages of our Bible-sized exam every couple of seconds. How did they know this stuff? I literally felt the hot sting of frustrated tears behind my eyes as I stared down at my first page: completely blank.

Time rolled on and with each passing minute, I fought the impulse to shoot up from my desk and scream, “I don’t understand this! I can’t! I just can’t” and then crumple the exam into a ball and storm out of the lecture hall, singing the chorus to Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’”.

I had put so much time into that class: tutoring every week and slaving over my computer to finish my online homework in time. I even did six hours of psychological testing to get a measly, single-digit, extra credit percentage added to my final grade.

I remember walking home after my exam, hopeless and exhausted, knowing I didn’t want to experience anything like that ever again. Why couldn’t I major in Taking Daytime Naps and minor in Watching John Hughes Movies? But really, how hard would a final about a nap be? Please list your dreams in chronological order. Was your nap awesome? True or false. The answer? True.

But then I got to thinking. I really should be able enjoy school. I should enjoy my finals. That’s true, too, if you think about it. The reason we go to school is to learn about subjects that interest us. We learn and learn and learn until we become experts. Then we flaunt our knowledge and find an occupation that challenges our findings and excites our brain.

In order to achieve that, we must do what we love. Does nothing else matter than being happy? Isn’t that why we’re all here? (Oh man, this is getting deep.) But really, this is what I’ve decided. In order to be happy, we must do what we love. And in doing what we love, we will find happiness. It’s as simply complicated as that.

Everyone has talents; everyone has strengths. Strengths = doing what we love = happiness.

I have a friend who’s an amazing artist. His parents are less than thrilled about art as a major. When I asked him what he thought about that, he responded, “I don’t really care what they think. I just know that I love doing art and I’m gonna be happy as long as I’m doing just that.”

So that’s it. Find what you enjoy, do what you enjoy, and everything else will fall into place.