Build Your Own Happiness

“I’d say don’t stress so much about who you are or what people think of you because in the end everything turns out fine. Just be yourself and carry along. Make mistakes, you’re bound to make mistakes and…just like, fall in love, fall out of love, it hurts like crazy but it’s something [a learning experience] that you should go through. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I know a lot of people can be really hard on themselves, myself included, and in the end you just [prohibit] yourself from doing so many things or from being happy. Sometimes happiness is not the person that you’re with or the friends that you’re with, but it’s yourself, it’s within you. It’s all about who you are and how you make your own happiness and success. Success is not money, or the house that you’re in. I came into this country with a bag in my hand, you know, and from there we evolved into having an apartment and then having a house. Sometimes you’re so scared of change, and of letting go of some things you need to let go of because you think “Oh my gosh, I’m going to lose my house or oh my gosh, I’m going to lose my job.” In reality when you think about it, it’s like you came here with nothing…at all, only a bag with papers that you had to give to the airport, so sometimes you just gotta start all over if you really need to. If not, then build your own happiness. You don’t need to be moving around to be happy, sometimes you might relive the very thing you were running from in the first place. It’s just how you build your happiness that counts.”

– Jennifer M.


Travel. Talk. Learn. Repeat.

“I would tell them to try to experience as much as they can. To meet new people, to travel, because that’s one of the most important things in life. [Learn] as much as you can learn from [your] own experiences, [because] that [has] the most worth. I think that’s very important, and when you seek [that kind of knowledge and experiences]…*laughs* it’s so hard now to talk about this… When you seek for experience in that sense it’s so interesting how you become more educated. In this age I recognize how that’s important for me, how I want to learn more and more. When I was a kid, everything that I learned in school, by that I mean learning from someone else, was not enough! But when I started to learn by myself it’s so..I don’t know, I want more and more. I want to travel and I want to talk to other people, and every time when I talk or see something I am thinking in that way that I am learning something new.”

– Melika K. (International student from Bosnia and Herzegovina)

With respect comes positivity

“I would honestly tell them to be respectful to everybody and anybody, because that is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate when people are disrespectful. I know we were talking about this earlier, but it really gets to me because as a teenager I was disrespectful to my mom’s fiancé and I feel like that impacted me negatively and I feel it impacted him negatively and then all the people around us. I think that if you just see where people are coming from, you don’t have to understand it, you don’t have to know what’s happening in their lives, [you will find] that with respect comes positivity. And if you can learn something from everybody you encounter, I think that’s important. Yeah, respect and then learn everything you possible can from anybody even if it’s somebody you absolutely hate, I think that you can learn something from everybody. And I think that having so many diverse people around you is so important, and I think that it creates a sense of community with people that you don’t know. You can learn so much from everybody and I think that helps you later on in life where it doesn’t put you in this box where, I don’t know, you’re not confined to yourself and the way that you feel like things should be.”

– Emma C.

Life’s Theme Is Change

“What I would have liked to have been told by someone if I was in a group of people, you know looking at it that way, is that we should strive to be very open and flexible and accepting of change. I feel like change in its purest essence is a very hard thing to go through. Change in general like moving or new friends or new places are very hard to go through, but I feel like it’s important as individuals to be accepting of it, because we’re part of societies. If we as individuals are accepting of it, then societies will be accepting of it. I’ve found that every time I’ve gone through change and I went with it and I was accepting of it and I changed the way I thought about things so that [my mentality] wasn’t so rigid,  I felt very fulfilled [afterwards]. Because sometimes change is going to happen, you can’t stop it. So, personally I think having that trait, that ability, that skill set, throughout me it’s going to help out anything else that I do. It will really help me live my life to the fullest and experience the most I can. A change that is going on right now that I think affects us directly is this whole global thinking, because of the internet. This right now is all about exchanging ideas and mentalities with people, that’s causing a lot of change. Back in the day, sometimes it was years before you heard anything, any innovations and things like that. You didn’t have internet you know, word spread really slowly. So things are really changing a lot. Life’s theme is change you know. That’s personally what I think.”

– Johan B.

Treat people the way they want to be treated

“The first thing I would say is to learn how to love yourself, and the way you do that is not dictated in any rule book or any specific way, its finding harmony with who you are as a person, what you look like and embracing that. And once that happens, life will set you up for success. 

And then, I know they always say to treat people the way you want to be treated, but someone told me once that we should treat others the way they want to be treated. Which sounds almost negative, but if you think about it positively, it’s saying that the way I want to be treated maybe is…well obviously in a good way, I want to be treated well, and maybe the way you treat somebody is by talking to them about advice and they respond positively to that. But not everybody responds the same way. Treat them the way that works best for them. This is not about negativity, basically to treat them positively of course, but always try to get to know them as well. And if you don’t know them, [if you have just met them], then treat them the way you want to be treated first and see how they respond to that.”

– Victoria B.

Happiness is never decreased by being shared

“If I had to tell a crowd of young adults [my advice] I would tell them that life is just too short to invest your time in things that you don’t want to do- things that you aren’t passionate about. Don’t be a slave to money, paychecks, or others’ expectations of your life. Your parents and friends know and love you. They want what is best for you. However YOU know you best, and sometimes you will take a path that is right for you, but will not appease those people. It is your life and while you may not always know whats best for you, you do know what makes you happy. Mistakes are part of the journey too.

Additionally, Life is unfair and it doesn’t have background music or an epic soundtrack. It can be dirty and frank. Invest your time in investing in what makes you happy and at least one other person happy at the same time. It is not enough to simply make only yourself happy or only others happy. Happiness is never decreased by being shared.”

– Taylor H.

Wow, that’s a crazy question

“I guess it would be…wow that’s a crazy question. I think I would kinda say something about basically that it’s important to do your best, make the most of your time while you have it here. I guess a way of doing that would be to treat not only people nice, but also all forms of life nice, in a nice and respectful way. And one of the most important things is to follow your passion and not worry maybe so much about money or position or wealth or anything like that because if you do something that you love and you do it well enough, you will be afforded a good life because you’ll rise to excel in that rather than just doing anything to just get by. But most important is treating people with respect. Following the golden rule, treating other people the way you would like to be treated. If you do that everything else will fall in line.”

– Robert R.