I am so lucky to be getting an education.
It doesn’t always feel that way – when group members are late handing things in, when you know you have a long night of editing and writing and re-writing ahead of you, it can feel daunting and horrible and, in a word, sucky. Yes, I just said sucky.
But it’s in these situations that I know I need to take a breath, focus on relaxing my shoulders and remember a story that really resonated with me in the Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. When he went to Africa to speak to several groups on his research about the advantages of positive psychology, he was talking to a group of young grade school students. Unsure of what to say, he asked them jokingly how many of them were happy to be at school, anticipating a typical North American response of only one or two kids really being thrilled to be at school. To his surprise, almost every child raised their hand.
In Africa, a grade school education was seen as a privilege and something that these students were lucky to have. This view leads them to be grateful for their time at school, and keeps them focused on what an amazing opportunity it is. Consequently, they’re happier to be there than most North American students.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress and turmoil of deadlines and projects and silly little annoyances, and to forget how great of an opportunity our university education really is. This is something that’s so inaccessible to so many people, and we tend to forget that.
So I’m going to take five minutes, a deep breath and appreciate how lucky I am to be getting an education. And then edit my paper.