Just Say Yes

by Helen Armstrong on April 11, 2016

If you’ve been walking around with your eyes and ears open, I’m sure you’ve seen or heard the phrase “Just say yes” or something to that effect. It encourages saying yes to everything that’s offered to you, the idea being that taking every opportunity is important to our growth as humans. While I think that the phrase shouldn’t be taken too literally (there are situations where, for your safety, you should probably not say yes – i.e. “Drive off that cliff! Adrenaline rush!”), I do think there’s value to saying yes to as much as you feasibly can.

No matter where you are in life or what college you’re attending, saying yes when you’re presented opportunities is important.

Nowhere is this truer than at Arcadia. Since I received my acceptance letter, I’ve been saying YES, which has led me to truly amazing places. The first big yes was to Arcadia – a smaller school with a pretty campus close enough to home and Philadelphia, it seemed to be a good fit. By saying yes to Arcadia, I was also saying yes to the world. Arcadia’s commitment to a global education satisfied my wanderlust-ing spirit that resented my small (smack-dab in the middle of Nowhere) town.

My next yes was to First-Year Study Abroad (FYSAE), a bigger and scarier beast. I knew I’d have to move away to college, but choosing Arcadia, which is only an hour away from my home, made this move less imposing. London, however – that’s far away. But I said yes because the second I read about FYSAE on the website, I knew that to say no would mean to live with regrets for the rest of my life.

So I said yes, and I went. While in London, the dates for Spring Preview were announced, and being in the honors program, it was free—this yes was resounding and without any second-guessing. How could I say no to a free trip? I went to Korea and had the craziest week of my life eating kimchi, talking to a Buddhist monk, spending 14.5 hours on a plane with a crick in my neck…

The next fall rolled around and I worried there’d be nothing to do, but Arcadia’s home campus offered enough things, like Haunted Castle and Rocky Horror Picture Show, that I found myself being asked a question every few weeks. Of course, this saying yes thing hadn’t led me astray yet, so I found myself going to more and more events, visiting more places in Philadelphia and around the suburbs.

At a Buddhist Temple on Preview in South Korea.

Then this semester arrived and I said yes to Italy, more certain than I’d been when I said yes to London, and voila – here I am!

No matter where you are in life or what college you’re attending, saying yes when you’re presented opportunities is important. Some places pose bigger, scarier questions, and as you board your flight to Korea, you wonder why you’ve said yes to this or why you denied yourself a spring break at home or on the beach with all your friends?

But as you wander the streets of Seoul eating Korean barbeque and black bean paste, you realize why you said yes, and why you’ll continue saying yes for the rest of your life.