Stacey Flowers, in her Ted Talk, argues relationships have the deepest impact on happiness in our lives and you should have 5 types of supportive people in your life (although they don’t have to be 5 separate people, as someone can play more than one role): a friend, coach, mentor, cheerleader and peer. Also, to be truly and authentically happy is about “unleashing your god given talents to positively influence this world” (Stacey Flowers, 2016). While you can be all these things to yourself, sometimes we need a little external support to help us and hold us accountable for our actions, to give us a kick up the butt when we’d rather just sit on it, or to believe in us when we are unable to believe in ourselves, for whatever reason.
Having these people in your life as you study for a degree will make your journey somewhat more comfortable. The mental and emotional journey through higher education is not guaranteed to be straightforward and easy. It is transformative and sometimes tricky. The further removed you are from the ‘ideal type young traditional university student’, the greater your challenges, as the system is not designed with you in mind. For example, as a non-traditional student with other responsibilities and commitments, it can be challenging to juggle academia alongside other areas of life. Sometimes, a ball has got to drop (still referring to the juggling analogy, btw) and if you have these five types of people in your life, they can listen to your concerns, help you stay focused or figure out which ball, if any, needs to drop. I LOVE learning and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Warwick. Yet I have also had many wobbles about whether I should, or should not, continue to study. Having people around me to cheer me on when I want to quit, to remind me of all the hard work I’ve invested, makes it easier to keep trucking on. Now I have finally entered the penultimate term of my final year, there is no doubt in my mind about finishing now. I just have to juggle my life for a few more months before I can reel in joy and disbelief that I actually completed the degree. That I committed 4 years to my education is a massive achievement for me. I used to be an ‘ideas’ person who would get bored easily and move on to something else as soon as the going got tough. This experience has taught me so much about myself and is worth so much more than the number I will be given at the end of this academic year. While my grade does not define me nor reflect my journey through university, my experiences over the last four years have forever changed me. In a good way, I like to think.
“Happiness happens before success” (Stacey Flowers, 2016)