Zachariah Alvarado ‘23

As a junior, Wabash has thrown me some difficult challenges so far. Among them are the student body, employment troubles, and most notably academic difficulties. Before Wabash, my life was very different as I did nearly everything I could to deal with pain and discomfort but now I am forced to deal with problems in a different way. Running mile after mile helped me with anxiety and plunging myself into freezing pool waters to swim laps pulled me out of depressive funks in the past. Now that I am at a loss of time for an excess amount of physical activity, I have had to face negative situations in a more careful and direct manner than before. Initially, the short-lived boxing room helped me, but with that now gone, new ways need to be created in order to overcome the challenges that I am met with.

While there are a plethora of quick fixes and forms of therapy to deal with the worry of employment or plans upon graduation, and the stress of academia I have simply decided to be happy about all of it. Meditation can work of course as well as yoga, weightlifting, and even prayer, but they are just ways for me to dodge the dilemmas I am faced with instead of facing them. It sounds naïve and even ridiculous to any cynic but that’s why it works, at least for me. Accepting that there is nothing I can do about these dilemmas, aside from transferring/dropping out and therefore accepting the near definite fate of unemployment, is the best course of action I can currently take. Looking at everything with a more positive light is very challenging when everything feels like it is closing in on you but there is a long list of reasons that I am glad to be where I am.

Being at another school would be dull and boring to say the least. While I am here, I get to continuously become bewildered by our traditions and be so grateful that I am not a Rhyne. I have caring professors and kind friends who I am glad to have in my life. My laptop works well, and I have clothes that fit me on my back as the weather continues to get colder. I have a phone to communicate with family back home and maintain connections with others in my life. On top of all of that, I am grateful to even be enrolled in a college where any of this is even possible. I get fed meals everyday and am provided plenty of spaces to work as well as relax. This does not diminish my problems or equate them to anyone else. It simply shows that there is a lot to be grateful for even in the most stressful and difficult moments.

Looking back at the ways I thought I was clever in dealing with my problems seem like so long ago. Doing anything I could to distract myself from all the negativity is now a distant memory. My advice is this: deal with your problems now because that is how we can learn to be happy in the future. I faced my problems and continue to do so and I can honestly say that despite everything, I’m happier now than I ever have been before. Problems are inevitable but facing them is a choice that only you can make and avoiding them is no way to live. Life can always be worse, but all we can do is deal with what is in front of us. This could be a paper due in two days you haven’t started on, the crushing reality of Senior Comps, and or every thought that tells you to give up. Despite all of this, keep going and choose to be happy not for anyone else but for yourself. Stop doing things that make you miserable, do something that makes you smile. If all you look for is a new reason to be stressed and worried then that is all you will find. Instead, be proud of the work you have done until now, relax, and trust yourself to do the right thing when the time comes.