College Life: Bad situations and feelings are usually impermanent

By Toni Pennello - [email protected]
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I’ve never felt simultaneously so calm and so overwhelmed.

I’m overwhelmed for obvious reasons, which I laid out in detail in my last column — this is the worst time of the semester; I need to plan for my post-graduate life, etc.

However, if there’s anything college has taught me, it’s that everything always works out.

Am I going to do a phenomenal job on every assignment and every final? Probably not. But I know that I’m going to try my best regardless of how thin I am spread.

I know that I’m not going to fail. I know that no matter what horrible feelings I’m having about school, in a couple of weeks, those horrible feelings will be gone. I will be enjoying Senior Week activities in no time, and I’ll be walking across the stage for my diploma in just a little more time than that.

This is the home stretch.

I often think of a piece of unlikely, maybe unintentional wisdom that my dad imparted to me throughout my life. When I would start to panic about something, he would ask, “Is anyone going to die? Is anyone going to jail?”

It seems silly, but it comes up often, and helps a lot. It gives the perfect amount of comfort without being dismissive.

Basically, it reminds me how impermanent — and how minuscule, in the grand scheme of things — most bad situations and feelings are in my life.

In absolutely every negative situation I’ve been in, not once did I have to be concerned about some permanent, irreversible consequence, at least after the fact (knock on wood).

Of course, many people do find themselves with lasting repercussions. Thinking about that makes me thankful that so many of my problems are impermanent, and reminds me that I can get through whatever it is I’m going through.

Bad things happen all the time, but if no one is going to die, and no one is going to jail, it will probably turn out OK. Nine times out of 10, especially if you are in a relatively good life-situation, this is the case.

I’m not going to die because an essay I wrote came up 50 words short. I’m not going to jail for some crime against the proper use of the semicolon; neither are you.

I’m thankful that I have food to eat, that I am healthy, that I have people in my life who I love and love me, that I’m going to have a college degree — heck, there’s a whole lot to be thankful for.

Everything is going to turn out fine.

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By Toni Pennello

[email protected]

Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader Newsroom.

Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader Newsroom.