COURTESY OF RIA ARORA
This semester Arora’s roommate has helped her to achieve a life-long dream of learning how to sing.

Pressing pause and prioritizing happiness

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to sing — when nobody’s around, that is. I frequently host late-night karaoke parties for one, wail in the shower like nobody hears me and hum in the kitchen when I’m alone. Music has always been my coping mechanism for dealing with stressful events.


COURTESY OF ADDY PERLMAN
Perlman made friends at TIP who she is still close with today.

Forever a TIPster: How childhood summers shaped the woman I am today

I watched as the USPS truck sped out of our sleepy cul-de-sac. I scurried up to the mailbox, flung open the lid and ripped open the letter. It was finally here, and I was in. I had been accepted to Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP).  


COURTESY OF DAVID MERCIER AND KELLY DORFMAN
Mercier and Dorfman have taught an intersession class called The Art and Science of Happiness every year since 2018.

The science of happiness and joy

A student achieves a major academic success, a young couple buys their dream home, a retiree escapes to a tropical haven. Each person feels elated, incandescently happy. Then a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation takes hold, and the wonderful feeling subsides over time.


COURTESY OF DIVYA KUMAR
Among other things, Malcom has found joy in frequent walks on the Stony Run Trail.

Learning how to manage my emotions

Soon after quarantine began, I realized that I tended to run away from my negative emotions. I’d channel my anxiety into The News-Letter’s all-consuming, weekly production cycle. I’d hide my sadness by flitting about M-Level. Bury my emptiness at Power Plant Live!. Manifest my stress through low-grade hypochondria.


VIDEO ESSAY: Ode to joy

The first ode to joy was a poem; then it was the chorus of a symphony. My own little ode to joy comes as a video that captures brief moments of joy and its various forms — contentment, wonder, glee, amusement, bliss — all of which I experienced on an ordinary autumn day.  


COURTESY OF MARVIS GUTIERREZ
For Gutierrez, platforms such as Zoom and Discourse have provided a way to connect with friends, despite physical distance. 

Connecting with friends in a virtual world

I initially had a bit of trouble trying to think of a concept or action that really resembles joy — especially during this quarantine period, it’s much easier to fall back to negative emotions and feelings. Eventually, I realized that what got me through these past nine months and brought joy into my life while I was physically isolated were the interactions I had with my friends online. 


ROSIE JANG/CARTOONS EDITOR
During quarantine, Abrams has connected with friends while playing online game Among Us.

A belated love letter to Among Us

The basic premise of the game Among Us is simple. You are a crewmate on a ship with 4-10 other players and one or two of the individuals is an imposter trying to sabotage the ship and kill the rest of the players. 


COURTESY OF ALANNA MARGULIES
Margulies has learned much of what she knows about joy from her mother.

When Joy is your middle name

My mom’s name is Ellyn Joy Weisfeldt Margulies. From the day she was born, she was stuck with joy being a part of her life whether she wanted it to be or not. As a consumer of mass media, I know that the classic response to such a prescriptive name would be to live in lifelong defiance of her so-called destiny. 


My Cousin Vinny brings back the love and comfort of my yute

You know that feeling when you look around Hop and feel incredibly detached from what life was like at home? Then your mind shifts back, and you remember your home friends, your family, your spot on the couch and that one food you love that just doesn’t taste the same in Baltimore (currently missing good pizza). 


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