By Christina Hallowell, Vice President

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Hallowell Finding a Penny (photo courtesy of Christina Hallowell)

Everyone has at some point had, “A Case of the Mondays,” a time when it feels as if your own personal storm cloud is following you around wherever you go. A time when you trip falling up the stairs in Roberts, you forget your pen for an 8 a.m. exam,  you order food at the snack bar and realize you don’t have any money or your student ID on you, and you realize you skipped a group project meeting because you just have too much on your plate. It’s a time when all you want to do is crawl into your bed, stream netflix for hours and talk to nobody.

Speaking from experience, some days just suck. I’ve been noticing a trend lately. It seems as if everyone is having “A Case of the Mondays.”  I see my friends, my classmates, and even some of my professors in a slump.

I don’t always feel like it’s Monday, just sometimes. I try to only allow myself to have those terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-days once in awhile. I never allow those days to carry through to the rest of the week, nor do I allow those bad moments to carry through to the rest of the day.

When you think about it – nothing is really that bad. I tripped falling up the stairs, but I didn’t even skin my knee. I forgot a pen, and I had to borrow one, but so what? The lady at the snack bar was more than understanding and let me run back to my room to get my money. My group members just shared the google doc with me and asked if I could add to it in my spare time. Problems solved.

These tiny inconveniences in my day do not harm my overall quality of life in any way. I like to measure my happiness in what I like to call “pennies”. They are the small things.  Things including; my favorite song playing on WUMF just when I turn on the radio, the orange leaves crunching underneath my feet walking on High Street, a stranger smiling and opening the door for me to the student center. All these things are like walking along a sidewalk and finding a penny. You aren’t expecting these things, and yet they have the power to make your day. Many people pass over them, and it’s a shame. If you go through your life looking for only nickels, dimes, or even dollars, you will only come across happiness when a nickel, dime or dollar is available. If you let the “pennies” make you happy, you will be ensured happiness wherever you go.

Psychologists agree. “The things we expect will bring us lasting joy rarely do,” said Carlin Flora, Editor of Psychology Today, in an article about happiness. “Focusing on small moments can help us be happier.” Psychology tells us that always looking for large, life changing events to make us happy will not fulfill us. Flora tells a story of a Red Sox fan who had waited since he was a young boy for the Sox to pull off a win in the world series. As a devoted fan, he finally was in the stands when his team beat the Yankees—their biggest rivals—in the league championships, after the biggest comeback in baseball history. He had the greatest night of his life but, “with the next morning came the darker side of triumph. “Carpenter’s [the fan’s] elation had worn off,” said Flora. The Red Sox fan was only looking for the “dollars.” Had he found joy in eating the stadium hot dog or participating in the seventh inning stretch perhaps his experience would have been better.

It’s all about making those tiny joys count for more. If you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up, just look at how the sun shines off the roof of Merrill Hall. Feel the excitement of fall time when you see your breath on those crisp mornings. Pick up a penny and feel it put a smile on your face.