In our twenties, we are often overwhelmed with craziness. Everything seems to be changing and moving at lightening speed. Between school, work, finding ourselves, upholding friendships and relationships, etc., we can sometimes feel like we’re in over our heads. It may be hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’m not the only one when I say it’s sometimes hard to see the positive in a negative.

Here’s what I’ve learned to be thankful for when it comes to the whirlwind of college and life thus far:

I am thankful for the sometimes heavy workload my professors give me. Believe it or not, your professors want to see you succeed and actually take something away from their course. They’re not trying to make your life miserable. Philosophy or chemistry may seem totally irrelevant to your major, but by becoming knowledgeable in these courses, you are turning into a well-rounded, diverse individual that knows a little somethin’ outside your field.

I am thankful for the tiny dorm room I had to share with a stranger. Growing up, I never had to share anything. I was the baby and the only girl, so I felt entitled to all of my possessions. It came as a huge shock when I realized I had to share a 20×20 dorm room for an entire year. It taught me how to be more respectful of other people’s time and space (which I wasn’t always good at prior to college). It also made me more thoughtful of my actions and how they affected other people. And when I moved out and got my own room in my own apartment, it made me appreciate alone time even more.

I am thankful I went to a college where I knew almost no one. When I graduated high school, the majority of my friends (seriously, like 80% of them) went to a different state college than me. I knew about 5 people at my university. This encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and get to know people I normally wouldn’t. And guess what? I’ve made some of the best friends in the world and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I am thankful for heartbreak. I tried to do the whole “long distance” thing my first year of college, and I wasted a lot of time and energy that year trying to make something work that was really doomed to fail. Not only did that failed relationship lead me to an even better guy, it taught me independence. I learned to be happy on my own. College is a transformation period—you are constantly changing and finding yourself, and if your happiness is dependent on another person, it’s hard to find who you truly are.

I am thankful for that professor who called me out in front of the entire class. As embarrassing as it was that first time, the professor who asked me to voice my opinion on a touchy subject in front of the whole class made me realize that I shouldn’t be afraid to speak up on how I feel. As you get older, you learn that it’s not a bad thing to have a different opinion than someone else. It means you are courageous enough to stand up for what you believe in. Controversy is inevitable, so you might as well speak your mind. Plus you feel reallllllly ballsy afterwards. Not a bad thing.

As these things happen (and they will), try to keep an open mind on how they might affect you down the road. It’s always easier to see the negative side of things than the positive, but by remaining optimistic, you can’t help by sigh in relief knowing that this is how your life is beautifully unfolding.

What things are you thankful for? Tell us in the comments below!