An upward tilted photo of an older building, lined with leaves

Appreciating the little things

With all that goes on in our academic lives and the pressure that looms heavily over our heads; urging us to be the best we can be, have the best grades, the highest GPA, join as many clubs as we can, volunteer, get a job, and possess a healthy social life- all while maintaining our physical and emotional health- life at university starts to look like a big, colourful mess. Granted: a rewarding mess, a mess that we chose and often love, however, an exhausting one that drains us. It’s difficult to find just the simple joys, when everything these days is big picture. Over the passed years I’ve been teaching myself to search for small things, often unnoticed and insignificant, but nonetheless things that make me feel like the world is a forgiving and often beautiful place, at least for a few fleeting moments. I thought I’d share some of those things with you, in hopes that you find some joy from them today, or any day in the future- beauty is something that should be shared; after all. The fall is probably my favourite season, so it’s not difficult for me to find reasons to wax poetic about it. There are fall clothes, of course- cozy and cute sweaters, rain boots, leather jackets! There are orange pumpkins everywhere; pumpkin flavoured food, pumpkin drinks, jack-o-lanterns (even after Halloween they’re great). The fall weather is perfect, because it’s chilly enough that you can wear a sweater or a light jacket, but warm enough that it’s still bearable to spend a few hours outside. I can even forgive the almost constant threat of downpour, because it sounds pretty and turns everything shiny and brings that smell to the air, you know that smell- the smell of leaves on the ground and rain. All of this is trumped, however (in my mind) by the Autumn leaves themselves. Every year I await them in anxiety, watching the maple trees suspiciously for the first sign of red veins- my favourites are the ones with many colors. I go to a park nearby and gather them in a little basket like some kind of Disney character and take them home to make crafts with them- now that I say it out loud it’s kind of lame- but it’s a small, easy thing that brings me happiness.
a shot of a downtown street lined with trees housing different colored leaves
Some of the gorgeous fall leaves on campus.
The upcoming winter has hidden cheer in it as well! First, there’s the approaching holiday break, to spend time with family or just take some much-needed rest. Snow falling is a sight to behold, even if it means going outside will be unpleasant- the way it dashes down to the earth in sparkles is magical. There’s always more chocolate around in those months, and bonding with people over the bitter chill. Soup is particularly soothing, hot chocolate too. Plus, everything appears more enchanting and otherworldly, covered in a layer of snow. There’s skating, and skiing, or the safe indoors to watch the world freeze over from the warmth of your bed or a library seat. It is important, in these stressful times, to remember there are good things and the chance to feel happiness even if you got a bad grade, or didn’t get enough sleep because you’ve stayed awake studying. Learn to appreciate the smiles of strangers, and remember that out there somewhere a dog is sleeping contentedly. What miniscule thing brings you delight?  

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