Top 5 reasons I almost had the best week ever

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate my week a solid 9. It included some exciting discoveries, a few wild adventures, and most importantly a whole lot of love.

With add/drop/swap and the Labor Day holiday eating schooldays over the past 2 weeks, this was Emory’s first full week of classes. I was expecting for the week to feel long and tiring. And it did, but in a good way. I was busy doing things that I love and getting on board with new things that I hope I’ll love too. I met lots of new faces and even managed to remember the names of a few! 

Upon reflection, I realize there were no Earth-shattering occurrences that made my week great. It’s greatness came from a series of smaller occurrences, kind of like how happiness has more to do with your every day life than it does with any one ultra awesome event. So here it goes:

Top 5 reasons I almost had the best week ever 

#5 I discovered the smoothies at Freshens in Cox Hall.


For any of my non-Emory friends, Cox Hall is our yummy alternative to the dining hall. It has sushi, noodles, asian food, pizza, and other stereotypical college foods. But most importantly, it has scrumptious smoothies! I’m talking Tropical Smoothie meets Sambazon level of smoothie deliciousness. As a smoothie addict, this was hands down the best food discovery I’ve made at or around Emory. For the sake of your tastebuds, go try a kiwi-strawberry smoothie and add in peach. It won’t disappoint.

#4 I went for my first run around Lullwater Park.


On Tuesday afternoon I decided to ditch my homework for a little while and go for a run. (In case you don’t know, it’s really really really hot in Atlanta, so all the other running I’d done up to this point had been inside.) Finally a day arrived that wasn’t completely scorching, so I threw on my neon pink running shoes and hit play on my “Bad Girls Workout” playlist. I headed out from my dorm and ventured down Clifton Road. On a whim, I decided to take a side trip into Lullwater Park. Everyone talks about how pretty it is, so I figured I might as well see what all the hype was about.

What a great choice. Lullwater is gorgeous! It’s full of shady trees and friendly faces. And that’s just on the way in. Then you get down to the bottom and find jealousy-evoking-adorably-cute couples frolicking in the grass and a huge lake to run around. I took my time running and took in all the sunshine and sights around me. This included two dogs who wanted to say hello. If pooches can’t make your week great, what can? 

#3 I found out about Happiness Bootcamp.


I logged into my e-mail the other day and found a message from Caleb, a senior at Emory and a fellow in the Office of Health Promotion. Caleb is SUPER rad. He started a program called “Happiness Bootcamp” at Emory last summer. It’s based off of principles in positive psychology and aims to address and increase students’ happiness. Some cool things he includes in the program are meditation, journaling, and expressing gratitude. 

A few days later, I made it all the way over to the Office of Health Promotion to chat with Caleb. We talked about our shared interests in the study of happiness, how we both want to help others be happier, and even our affinity for alternative nut butters. T’was well worth the hike. I’m really excited to participate in Happiness Bootcamp and hope eventually I can help facilitate the program!

#2 I got to wear my new polka dot dress.


Last Sunday Emory provided a lovely Tex-Mex feast for my entire freshman dorm. We dined on the best enchiladas ever recorded in human history and listened to a great speech made by Dr. Michael Elliott of the English department. Lucky for me, this fancy little soiree called for business casual attire. And guess what happened to be business casual attire, my polka dot dress I’d been waiting to wear! Hooray! 

I picked up this dress at Anthropologie over the summer at the height of my polka dot obsession. (This may or may not have been the same week I ordered an entire polka dot bedding set, polka dot shorts, and got a polka dot manicure…) It’s really nothing super special, I was just delighted I finally got to wear something I’d been waiting for. I even made a friend in a polka dot bow tie at the dinner!

#1 I had people who cared about me to help me through a rough time.


This post is dedicated to the wonderful people I was lucky enough to have on my side this week.

Suffice it to say that I found myself in a less-than-favorable, yet not-so-uncommon situation last night. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, made some not so thoughtful decisions, and really needed a friend. Or a cousin. Or really anyone who cared. I was luck enough to have all 3.

For privacy purposes, I won’t go into much detail but I do want to say a huge thank you. You all know who you are. I’m so grateful to have had you around to help me. Most of you haven’t known me long and really had no obligation to help me out. But you did. And because of that I wasn’t alone. I had a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on. 

What more could I really need to be happy? Thank you for making happiness happen. 

I can’t declare this week to be the best week ever, because I’ve learned I have no idea what lies ahead. But hey, a 9 out of 10’s not bad!

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My name’s Sydney Jean. (Yup, it’s all my first name)

I’m a freshman at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. I created this blog to chronicle my college experience and my quest to make happiness happen. My senior year of high school was less than ideal. I took 4 AP classes, rowed up to 4 hours a day, had an externship tutoring ESL kindergarteners, volunteered, and tried to keep up a normal social life. All these commitments became too much to handle in one day and I stopped sleeping almost entirely. As a result I became incredibly irritable, alienated the people who cared about me, ruined some great friendships, and let my perfectionism all but destroy my life. 

Then one day I woke up and saw the light. (Metaphorically speaking of course. But I would like to think that if I saw some truth-shedding light, it would be sparkly and tinted  slightly pink.) I realized that it didn’t matter how “perfect” I seemed if my life was completely miserable. I came to understand that “perfect” doesn’t even exist. And honestly, why would we want it to? What’s the fun in never making mistakes and being afraid to take chances? Life’s a learning curve. Our imperfections are what make us the beautiful people that we are.

So, here I am at Emory University. I’m just beginning this brand new chapter and am eagerly awaiting to see what lies ahead. I thought I should know what I wanted to study and do, but instead I’ve decided to try anything and everything. Stay tuned to my blog and join my journey to figure out this whole happiness thing. I have a feeling it’s going to be worth it once we get it right.

Lovely to meet you all!


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Today I woke up and went to Breuggers bagels, it’s kind of like Einsteins but Einsteins is WAY better. Then I had to unpack my life, we have sooo much stuff! It took a long time and feels like we got nowhere. Next we drove around the town and realized how insignificant   small it is. We went to Noodles & Co. for lunch, which I’m so glad they have here, one less thing we have on the list of to dos when I visit. Tomorrow my goal is to find a new dive club because I feel so… dry. I hope you’re finding summer fun as can be and work enjoyable. I miss you a lot and can’t wait to see you! If you were here I would be having a GREAT summer. By the way, I quite enjoy skyping your face. Don’t replace me.

Much love from Iowa,

Syd J

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