By Emily McLaughlin
I have learned a lot in my time at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I have learned trivial facts, problem solving skills and improved my writing abilities. I have also learned how to sustain friendships, how to network effectively and how to communicate with all kinds of people. The most important thing I have learned, however, came in the last few months of college. I began to ponder, “What am I doing? Where am I going? Where do I really want to be?” And… this may seem outrageous, but it really clicked when I opened my Yogi Tea on a rainy Thursday afternoon. It read, “The heart sees deeper than the eye.”
Every romantic comedy, love story and sappy song tells us to follow our hearts and to not let the eye deceive us. As I enter this new post-grad chapter of my life, I have made a promise to myself: From here on, I promise to follow my heart over all else. If you are not invested in something–whether it be your academic major, your job, a relationship or, to relate it to health, a new diet plan–then stop. To be committed to something or someone, you need to not only see into the immediate future, but be able to invest yourself whole-heartedly in that thing or person.
We spend a lot of time observing other people and what makes them happy. As a result, we fail to realize what makes us happy. We forget to put ourselves first and do the things that make us smile. With the stress of graduating and finding a job, I got caught up in unhealthy routines and forgot to do the things I love. For example, I love blogging, discovering music and taking photos. I also love to cook new things, I love to exercise for me and not just for my job and I love being spontaneous. I love spending time with friends, I love laughing and I love meeting new people.
It is only fitting that my 200th post be reflective and optimistic. Looking back on my four years at UMass Amherst, I have had some amazingly unforgettable moments. Freshmen year was one full of exploration and making friends. Sophomore year is when I fell in love with my job and teaching fitness classes. Junior year is when I learned to live on my own outside the comforts of a dorm. And… Senior year… Senior year has certainly been the most amazing year of my life to date. Through trial and error, I have learned to live with intention, choose with no regret and to do what I love.
I know that for me, and my peers, life post-grad has a lot to offer. Sure we might have to leave the people that have become family and the place that has become home, but we are on to bigger things–better things. We are entering the ‘real’ world to fix it, change it, and to make it ours. My advice to everyone is to remember to follow your heart and to do what you love.
There is a reason that they call it commencement. It is the end of one chapter, but the beginning of a more amazing one. “Live as if this is all there is,” but don’t forget who you are and don’t forget to do what you love.