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Put a smile on

Matt Miklavic | Wednesday, December 11, 2013

As of the writing of this sentence, it is two degrees outside. I’ve slept for 47  minutes of the past 44 hours. I still have two group projects, two papers, and this column due in the next two days, with six finals looming in the future. It’s a situation no different than those faced by students all over campus as stress creeps in and starts dampening campus’ Christmas spirit. There’s little we can do to avoid or alleviate the pain.  But here’s what you can do. Somewhere between finding your finest pair of sweatpants, grabbing some snacks and trekking to the library, try this: Put on a smile.

Smile because today’s Thursday, and Fever beckons. Smile because while tomorrow night being “study days,” you fully intend on squeaking out one last weekend. Smile because you know better than to be at the library for the bun run. Smile because while little of finals could ever be defined as anything but terrible, finals week cannot last forever. Smile because classes are hours from being over for good, and break awaits at the end of the tunnel. Smile because a camel walked into your class yelling about Hump Day. Smile because you saw a professor have a kerfuffle over it and reprimand the two kids in the camel costume for ruining a “serious academic environment.” Whatever you say, Professor Scrooge.

Smile because you know that some of college’s great moments come from the lunacy of late night studying. Smile because even while you’re shacked up at the library with your friends for the next seven days, the company makes it worth it. Smile because someone is going to shout “$%&! this, we’re getting Chipotle” mid-study session. Smile because, you know, Chipotle. Smile because you realize that at some point someone will say something wildly inappropriate at a decibel level the librarian won’t appreciate. And it will be hilarious.

Smile because despite the cold, it’s also snowing. Smile because snow is awesome on a level approached only by Santa, puppies and syllabus week – and if you don’t love any of those, you should do some serious soul searching. Smile because Christmas season has arrived, and not even finals can entirely ward off its infectious spirit. Smile at caroling, hot chocolate, sweaters, community, presents and a month where it is socially acceptable to wear a Santa suit.

Smile at the fact you get to live at a truly incredible place. Smile because the Dome is still awesome and the lakes are still there, even if at this point they might be frozen. Smile because campus is still beautiful and your dorm is still full of some of the best brothers or sisters you’ll ever have. Feel free to frown about parietals, though. They earned it. Smile because your time here will not last forever, and its far better to smile about the good of this place than to cry about the fact you’ll have to leave.

If, like me, you’re going abroad, smile because these are the last days you have until August. Enjoy every single one.

Smile because a frown never accomplished anything and crying is never fun. Smile to make your day better. Better yet, smile to make someone else’s day better. Smile because it’s infectious. Smile because you can.

In the words of one author, a smile “is the universal language of kindness.” In the words of one wise sophomore, “smiling is the universal language of picking up the ladies.”

Whatever your reason, be it kindness, Christmas or the ladies, put a smile on. Between your opportunities at Notre Dame, the upcoming holidays or simply your family and friends, we all have plenty to smile about.

Matt Miklavic is a junior studying finance and political science from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. He’s also a huge fan of flash mobs. He can be reached at mmiklavi@nd.edu
The views expressed in this
column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.