The summer of 2006 was the best summer of my life. I went to Brown University for four weeks. Before going, I decided to establish two ground rules for myself. I was going to learn as much as possible in and out of class, and be as carefree as I had ever been in my life—almost as if I had tossed all of my negative experiences and judgments I had made over the past fifteen years of my life out the window. I expected to go, and leave with some excellent pieces of fiction, and a few new friends. By the end of third week, I’d received so much more.
Friday night of my third week was the last night that I had to spend with all of the friends I had made that were a part of the three week program. I laid on the grass in front of my friend’s dorm, with six other heads around mine, my camera in my hand and the dark night sky above me. We all knew that after that night, we would probably never be together again. The chances of us even seeing each other again were extremely slim. Within a decade, most likely over half the people I met at Brown, I will I have forgotten. However, the way I felt, with so many people I had fallen in love with, and the love I had, and the happiness I relived every day, every night that I slept in my dorm, was one I hadn’t felt in such a long time, and one that I will never forget. It was a feeling that I thought it would be forever until I felt it again.
A week later, as I was sitting in a plane heading back to DC, I remembered something someone had said while I was there. They said something about not being sad that we’re leaving, but excited about what had just happened, and the memories that were made.
I believe that happiness lives inside of us. All of the good feelings people claim not to possess are there. They’re just like plants, turtles, or a new cat. They just need a little coaxing to come out, but they are there. They are in your memories, and in your heart. Admittedly, when I think about some of the times I had at Brown, I want to cry. But more often than not, I smile, I laugh, and I remember how I felt with each person I had spent time with, or on campus, or even off campus. When I read any of the pieces I wrote for class while I was there, it makes me feel good. When I look at my pictures, I can remember how I felt in them. I believe there is always something out there to make the happiness blossom in all of us. If you find it once, you can always find it again.
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