How a Good Classmate Got Me on the Path to Happiness

By Kimberly Zamalo

I am good. I know I am good because I’m truly the happiest I have ever been. This happiness is due to many changes I have made in my life over the past two years. It wasn’t easy, but I knew it was something I had to do. Before this change, I was a very negative person. I ‘hated’ a lot of people, places and things.  I had no motivation to change my way of thinking. I felt like one bad thing after another kept happening to me and I was seriously considering running away. I felt helpless, like nothing good was ever going to happen to me.

A little over two years ago, I was sitting in class and some girl sat next to me. It was the first day of a new semester and I wasn’t planning on becoming friends with anyone in my classes since I knew I was transferring. Little did I know that the girl who sat down next to me was going to have such an impact on my life. I noticed she was always smiling, I mean always. You know how you can tell when someone is fake smiling? Well, this was definitely not a fake smile. It was so genuine and it made me want to smile. The second day of class, we had a project where we worked with the person sitting next to us. She immediately introduced herself to me and asked me how my morning was going. Her name was Kelsey and I will never forget that class with her. It was a psychology class and we had to talk about something that has happened in our life to make us sad or feel defeated. For some reason, I felt like I could tell her some things that have happened that have led to my negativity. Kelsey wasn’t so perfect either, but the difference between she and I was that she handled her situations more positively than I had. She gave me a lot of advice and I definitely used it! The one that really impacted me was writing down one thing each week that made me happy and put write something/someone I am thankful for. I kept a little jar on my nightstand and did that ever week. Once the semester was over, I felt happier, free of negativity and more aware of the good in my life. The night of my last class, I opened the jar and read what I had written. Tons of paper piled up on my bed and before even reading anything, it hit me. I have all these things that make me happy and that I am thankful for. Why was I neglecting that? Why should I let stuff from the past keep me down? I called Kelsey almost in tears after reading everything that I wrote I couldn’t believe how much happier I was. I had thanked her and she told me that smiles are contagious, as well as how we can feed off of other people’s happiness through something as simple as a smile. She brightened my day on the first day of school with her infectious smile.

Today, without her advice, I’d still be dwelling on the past instead of enjoying the here and now, while looking forward to tomorrow. Everyone around me has told me they have noticed a drastic improvement in my mood and love the new me. I got back into volunteer work, which is something I absolutely LOVE to do and don’t know why I ever stopped. At work, my job is to help people, whether it’s reaching their fitness goals, helping a coworker, or customer service. I know that helping others makes me happy. I try to do at least one thing every day to make me happy. I also attempt to do one thing each day to help someone else, which makes me happy. Overall, I can say that doing something each day or each week that makes you happy and reflecting on it, helps keep you focused on the positivity of life, which can also attempt to reduce daily stress! We go through a lot of changes in life. These past two years have been more positive and happier than I’ve been in a long time, and for that, I am good.


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