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    Experiencing True Joy in Their College Years

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    Many people in the world want to know what will make them happy. Mankind is in a search for the thing that will fulfill its expectations and desires. What is it that can actually satisfy a person’s heart? During adolescence, we thought it might be that new toy, or game we wanted for Christmas. We thought those items would leave us feeling content, but that gratification wore off. Teenagers can seek satisfaction in good grades, athletic accomplishments, or friends to name just a few. Even these things brought happiness for a short while, but it didn’t last. Adults look for a better paying job, more money, a bigger house, a way to make an impact… anything to fill that desire of satisfaction.

    The hard truth is this search will never en: it will always lead to wanting more and more. There is a plethora of things that people can turn to in search of happiness-far more than one could probably count. However, the point is we were made for so much more the fleeting pursuit of pleasure. We were made to be in a relationship with our creator. In college many people are searching for what will make them happy. Many turns to one or a combination of these temporary band aids: drugs, alcohol, sex, good grades, popularity, personal hobbies, and relationships. There are only short-term fulfillments found within these things. They leave people feeling emptier than they were before. If college students spent more time getting to know God, their creator, then the emptiness they feel would be replaced with experiencing true joy in their college years as well as for the rest of their lives.

    Could success, fame, or money ever fullfill this emptiness in a person’s life? Let’s take a look at someone who has achieved all of these things. Shia LaBeuof, a very famous actor, starred in several hollywood movies. He said in an interview in 2009, “Sometimes I feel like I’m living a meaningless life. I know I am one of the luckiest dudes in America right now. I have a great house. My parents don’t have to work. I’ve got money. I’m famous. But it could all change, man. It could go away. You never know” (Ramsay). Everything the world says that you need to be happy Shia LeBeouf has. Keep in mind that even without the fame and fortune, he is still pursuing his life’s dream and is doing what he loves most: acting.

    So why is Shia LaBeouf so unhappy. It’s because he is trying to fill the void in his life with everything except a relationship with God. Shia LaBeouf went on to say, ‘I have no answers to anything. Why am I an alcoholic? I haven’t a damn clue! What is life about? I don’t know, I have no idea where this insecurity comes from, but it is like a God-sized hole. If I knew, I’d fill it, and I’d be on my way” (Ramsay). LeBeouf hit the nail on the head. He didn’t realize it, but he actually answered his own question. It’s a God-sized hole! A hole that is so void, it can only be filled by God. The truth is that many of the celebrities that people tend to glorify, and praise are just as broken on the inside, but they have learned to hide it from the world and put on a fake front. Many college students are in the same boat. They are searching for a cure to their insecurity.

    Surely no one ever says one day I want to be an alcoholic, or addicted to sex, or depressed. It just happens. But why does is happen? And what is it that drives people to go down these routes? Even those college students that aren’t into a partying lifestyle still have, to some extent, a form of emptiness and unfulfilled expectation in their life. It’s what drives many people to do what they do. Why even go to college in the first place? For many it is because they hope to one day build a life that will fill that emptiness and discontent. A promise of fulfilment and the pursuit of happiness is what motivates many people to make the choices they make.

    A large portion of college students admit that they are not content with their life and find themselves depressed. A study conducted by the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment shows that “39 percent of college students will feel hopeless during the school year, 25 percent will feel so depressed they’ll find it hard to function, 47 percent will experience overwhelming anxiety, and 84 percent will feel overwhelmed by all they have to do.”(Leibow). The fact is there are many people in search of happiness but are not finding it.

    Darlene Ruth who graduated from the University of Minnesota put it this way,” 0h, no, people who were trying to find their happiness outside of god didn’t find it. they did not find their happiness in that stuff. There was always something wrong or something was always making them sad. People complain a lot too, and it sort of clues you in to the fact that on the inside they are unhappy.” There has also been a study that having a spiritual belief actual increases human health. As Hill and Pargament (2003) illustrated in their review of research on religious/spiritual implications for health, studies to date have tended uniformly to support the notion that spirituality and religion have beneficial outcomes for physical and mental health (Bryant).

    It seems the harder we pursue happiness the less satisfying it is. Sometimes people confuse happiness with Joy. Happiness is a feeling that comes and goes based on the situation at hand. In contrast Joy is something that never leaves a person once they have it. “But the ability to feel and show joy doesn’t come from the favorable circumstances of our human lives; it comes from God. We can’t lose joy any more than we can lose God. And we’re forever in the presence of God. He is all-powerful and totally good. Joy, as a spiritual quality, lasts forever. We always have it”. A joy in God will always last because God will always be there. A persons happiness is like a roller coaster but true joy is something that never leaves a person.

    There is an answer to this discontent that is felt during the college years. This seemingly endless pursuit of happiness can be fulfilled, but only by God. The creator of the universe knows how to fill that “God-sized hole” because he’s the reason it’s there. The further a person turns from God the bigger the hole gets. But it is never too late to turn back. God understands people better than they understand themselves. If one would choose to spend more time getting to understand and know the creator, than the creation(mankind) will ultimately start to understand and know itself better.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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