Choose happiness

WSS editor Fenna Semken shares her values and journey of finding happiness.


Ivan Badovinac

Items throughout the author’s life that have influenced her opinion, such as the school newspaper and her dance shoes.

Over the past years of my high school life, I have tried things I both love and hate, encountered friendships that were meant to last a lifetime and those who made my life just a little more stressful. I made decisions about what was best for me, not for those around me.

When I looked back at my life as it was a year ago, I was both pleased and angered. I was pleased that I was surrounded by friends whom I loved and cherished, that I was a part of groups that shared similar opinions as me and that I had a close relationship with my parents and family. I was grateful for all the opportunities I had had so far in my life and the countless things the people around me had sacrificed to get me to where I was then.

But what I was angered about is so different. I was stressed about staying in certain activities – whether I should do it to stand out on college applications or quit to make my life calmer and happier. I was frustrated that no one around me could relate to what I was feeling or could say just the right thing to make the decision clear in my mind. But a year later, everything is clear.

Who cares about college applications if you are not staying true to your heart? Drop what makes you stressed and move forward to bigger and better things. Do what makes you happy and push onward.

Choose your friends, your activities and your classes wisely, because if you do, you will have chosen happiness.”

— Fenna Semken

If there are friends who stress you or have burned you multiple times, let them go, or create some distance. If there is an activity that you don’t love anymore, lessen the amount of involvement you have with it, or even better – leave.

Change your life so you are happy, because that is all that matters. A year ago, I thought about how I was spending hours at dance, spending time with friends who hurt me and left me out of activities and losing my passion for what I really loved because I was too busy dealing with stress from other, fixable things.

But then, I chose happiness. I chose to make all these decisions and applied them to my life, and a year later I truly cannot express how grateful and astonished I am to be where I am in my life. I have been accepted into my dream school, and I am someone who doesn’t have a perfect 4.0 GPA, and has quit and taken up new activities quite frequently. I have lost my passion for some things, but discovered myself through failure.

And that was the choice that made all the difference. Who cares what others think, especially in high school? Take risks and try new things, but only stay if it is something that makes you happy. Don’t take all AP classes based on others’ judgement or because your friends will be there, take them only if you truly want to learn that material. And don’t be a part of an activity if it isn’t fun for you, because it will lead to unnecessary stress.

Choose your friends, your activities and your classes wisely, because if you do, you will have chosen happiness.