Professor Mason never failed to surprise me. I asked him how he managed to be happy during those challenging moments. (I was referring to checking our papers.) My admissions tutor would plan his holiday, which was a right thing to do.
He wanted to set foot in Vietnam after reading "The Quiet American". He wasn't expecting anything that would remind him of Graham Greene's recollection of Saigon, but he was amused at the sight of a young backpacker walking along a riverbank. He had a bottle of red wine on his right hand. He was supposed to spend a week in Sa Pa, but he ended up extending his stay for another week. He couldn't keep his eyes off Fansipan, as the majestic mountain would lord over the terraced fields on a sunny afternoon. He also had traveled to some parts of Europe, which wasn't followed with another one. He got tired of the routine while he became interested in galleries.
It was the professor's turn to ask me about my first year, which turned out to be an unforgettable experience. I may be far from home, but I enjoyed the company of my new friends. There won't be any substitute for the support system as well. I might not have many life experiences (compared to my tutor), but I could share my insights on my own pursuit of happiness. I won't mention my tutor, even the secretary (of the English Department). I chose to pass up the guidance counselor. Here's a short list:
Don't be obsessed about the future. I'll fulfill all the requirements of the first year, the next, and the year after next. I'll receive my degree. I'll make lifelong buddies. There's no need to worry about the future except a possible blizzard the following month. I want to make the most out of the present, which means trying to finish my assignments ahead of the deadline. It's easier said than done, but I can keep on trying.
The more, the merrier. I can't help it if I seek the company of my coursemates (and housemates), as it will help me in managing the coursework. It doesn't mean that I can't deal with solitude, even isolation, but there's a chance that I'll have a bad mood. (My parents are a call away, but I believe I can handle it.) I try to embrace my moments of a bad mood, even let my friends know it. I'm not a robot. The thought (of having friends in the university) gives me an assurance that it will turn out to be good.
Don't sulk in your room. This may not be the ideal time for long walks, but a weekend will do. There's something about the natural surroundings invigorating me.
Kindness can do wonders. I won't confuse it with selfishness, even inconsideration. Both seem common among teenagers, and I would see it as a phase. My parents would be the most generous individuals I knew, and their acts inspire me. I also see the same in my department.
Invest in experiences. I'll make an exception on my Lego collection, which would amuse my tutor. I don't plan to be an engineer, though.