Starting the Semester on a Positive Note

By Samantha Allan

The beginning of the spring semester has officially arrived. In a few short blinks, winter break has officially ended and the time for the next round of classes has taken its place.

Heavy class loads, the search for close parking and piles of snow and ice annoy students who are already feeling stressed out and disgruntled. It is very easy to get frustrated with the person honking their horn or with the traffic lights collectively pressing you for time to walk to class.

With so much chaos in the first couple weeks, it is important to make the semester transition as easy as possible. Spreading positivity helps combat the winter blues and overwhelming feelings that often arise in a new situation.

While this may seem like a complex and trying task, spreading positivity can involve little to no effort at all. A kind word can benefit a person in ways you may not even be aware of.

Giving compliments is the perfect way to get the semester going in the right direction. In order to make a great first impression, many students will enter new classes with their favorite outfits.  This might include a new pair of boots or a sweater that gives them an extra boost of confidence.

If you happen to notice that sweater or pair of shoes, try complimenting the person wearing it. Positive comments can brighten the day of someone that may have felt a bit down otherwise, and bring a glimmer of hope the semester is going to be a great one. Telling a fellow classmate or professor you like their outfit can improve their day and yours as well.

While this may seem like an obvious question, when is the last time you complimented someone? Compliments can be a great way to strike up a conversation and make friends with the students you will soon be working with. Being surrounded by unfamiliar faces can make anyone feel a bit unsure of how the semester will pan out.

An especially difficult course could increase nervous feelings and lead you to scan the room for any sign of familiar faces. A flattering remark may lead you to a future study partner, note taker, fellow group project member or close friend.

Many researchers have devoted much of their time and energy proving compliments have a lot more benefits than you might think. Hara Estroff Marano notes,“compliments amplify positivity; they not only deliver positive effects to others, those effects bounce back on us, ramping up the positive atmosphere we breathe” (“The Art of the Compliment”).

Not only will a positive remark make another person feel great, it will also rebound to benefit the person giving it. I am a firm believer in embracing any opportunity to bring some positivity in my own life.

With good wishes for all, I hope some positivity can get the semester off to a great start.