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Taking time to listen can make you appreciate your life

There are countless lessons that you will learn throughout your college career. Each lesson you learn is unique to your life and your goals.

Academically, I have learned a lot while studying at Seton Hall University but nothing will com­pare to the life lessons I have learned.

My best advice is this: Make it your goal to be happy and al­ways look at the bright side of things.

Also, spread your happi­ness; spark a conversation with someone if you are giv­en the opportunity to do so. This is much easier said than done but I have been blessed with the capacity to do so.

Over a year ago, I started working at a convenience store called Wawa. As absurd as this may sound, I have learned a great deal from this experience. Naturally, I am a quiet person who enjoys listening rather than talking.

Since my job as a cashier re­quired me to be personable with various types of people, I was forced to be comfortable with it. I expected dissatisfied customers to come into the store more of­ten than not. Instead, I have had strangers tell me their life stories - whether it be about drug abuse or that their child said their first word.

By surrounding myself with people and listening to their trea­sured stories, it made me appre­ciate life more.

When a complete stranger con­fides in you with their utmost personal stories, it is a great feel­ing.

One day, an elderly woman came into the store dancing "like no one was watching" and when she noticed I was watching she said, "What? Life is entirely too short not to dance every chance you get."

I could have been having the worst day but talking and listen­ing to people kept me occupied. If they were hav­ing a bad day, I tried my hard­est to get them to crack a smile. It did not matter to me if my day was not going well because if I could make someone else smile, it made me smile.

This experience made me re­alize life is too short not to em­brace every moment of the day. If you are having a bad day, re­member to keep your head up and that tomorrow is a new day.

I have learned more quality life lessons from strangers than any internship could ever teach me. With that being said, don't judge a book by its cover and get to know people; you might be sur­prised with what you find.

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Leah Poland is a senior chemis­try major from Monroe, NJ. She can be reached at


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