By now you’ve probably taken a visit to Southern New Hampshire University’s beautiful campus. You’ve had lunch at the Dining Hall or taken a quiet stroll through The Shapiro Library. You may even know a little bit about your professors and other students in which you’ll be sharing this new journey. But have you thought about how your program and career path will impact your future after college?

It’s easy to get lost in the potential earnings of your field, but it’s important to train yourself to be aware of your level of happiness at all times. Why? Because like many things, happiness is a huge source of energy, and it can help you easily find your passions and persevere when the unexpected happens. Of course happiness does not pay the bills, but it’s an attribute of the human spirit that’s worth exploring and sustaining.

There are many people out there that can wake up, go to their job, hate it, go home and repeat, but that doesn’t have to be you. Most people probably wish they were in love with their work because the work that you love doesn’t really feel like work at all. And when you find that employer or business that doesn’t restrict this flow of happiness, you’ll never want to let it go. There’s a prodigious amount of freedom in choosing happiness.

So how can you find the confidence to choose happiness at SNHU? How can you prepare yourself to choose yourself over work? Follow these steps:

Realize you’ll be much happier in the long-run.

There are many people who make a huge profit from work they find absolutely atrocious. They might have the luxury of not living paycheck to paycheck, but their ability to travel is limited, they work long hours and their needs constantly come second to work. That doesn’t have to be you. Just because the job’s available doesn’t mean you have to take it. Every opportunity isn’t necessarily the best one for you. Take the steps now to make yourself a priority in any situation. Remind yourself of some of history’s greatest minds.

Find people that you’d like to emulate in your work. Figure out what they did to get where they were and what drove them. Learn how they protected their passions. Having a list of people that you admire will keep you inspired and will help you continue to choose happiness.

Practice saying no.

Learning how to say no will be the hardest thing you ever learn, but it can save you from burnout, toxic opportunities and situations that can deter you and negatively impact both short and long-term goals.

Take more risks.

Life is full of risks and any risk you take can become a beautiful learning opportunity that can help shape the professional, spouse, friend and person you become. Don’t be afraid to take them. If you’re thinking of switching your major and you think it will be worth your while, do it. If you want to start a business venture, make a plan and make it happen. If you’d like to take a break from school to pursue another passion or take a hiatus, that’s perfectly fine.

You don’t need permission to be happy and you’re at the right institution to make it happen. Life doesn’t wait for anyone so don’t put your desires and dreams on hold; chase them.

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