What Brooks and Dunn Taught Me

Hi friends! I wrote this article for UCLA’s newspaper, The Odyssey. I think it still relates to your life though, no matter where you go to school or if you are even in school. Happiness is for everyone no matter where you are in your life. Enjoy!

It’s the Monday after Stagecoach and I’m feeling slightly jealous that I wasn’t there to don my cowboy hat and boots. I love country music, plain and simple. Then again, who doesn’t? It seems like just about everyone I knew was taking Indio, California by storm. So to make up for the time lost in country music paradise to study for midterms, I heard a song on the radio that caught my attention by Brooks and Dunn: “Red Dirt Road.”

It seemed like a typical 105.1 station song more or less, until I heard a line that made me think: “I learned that happiness on earth ain’t just for high achievers.”

Now as UCLA students, I’m sure you can relate to this in someway—ask yourself honestly, how much of your happiness comes from landing the job you wanted, getting the grade you were going after, or earning your goal GPA? I know that I’ve done this before and to clarify, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. But it certainly shouldn’t be everything.

There’s only so much we can do to be that “high achiever” that we all want to be. And while getting happiness from our accomplishments is great, I think it should serve as a bonus rather than a baseline. This song is on to something—true happiness comes from people, not grade points or paychecks. Sure it’s a balance, but if you don’t have anyone to share your success with that happiness is going to be much shorter lived.

True happiness always comes down to people. Whether you were at Stagecoach with your friends or studying for midterms—it’s the people that surround you that make the experience all worthwhile. At the end of the day we have to remember that no one is entitled to happiness—as UCLA students we don’t deserve to have a happier life because we like to be “high achievers” like the song suggests. No, with happiness there is no discrimination. You can have the best grades in the world but if you don’t have friends, happiness is hard to come by.

So take time this week to savor those friendships. And if you are a “high achiever” by nature, go ahead and appreciate those times of success—just don’t base your self-worth on ridiculously high standards that you may be setting. Achievement is a fickle thing; for as hard as you may work, a bad stroke of luck could take it away. Don’t put your happiness whole-heartedly in your grades or your money. Invest your happiness in your friendships, your family, and your life and you can have happiness no matter what you achieve.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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