In Hamlet, William Shakespeare wrote: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” His words resonate with me and I can see what he meant just by looking at my own college journey.

As an out-of-state student at UCF, the place I call home is in the distant state of Pennsylvania. Transitioning to life so far away from my small hometown was fairly difficult, but I have learned so much through my experience.

I often think the most valuable lesson I have learned is that everything in this life is connected. Everything that happens in your life is important — no matter how big or small it may seem when it happens. One event in the timeline of your life will impact the events that occur later in your life, and there is no way to know whether it will be for the better or for the worse.

The easiest example to see this in my life is looking at my initial decision to attend UCF. As a high school senior, I thought it was a great idea to pack my bags and study for four years in the sunny weather of Florida. I thought I couldn’t have made a better decision and I definitely saw it as a good choice.

However, once I started my time at UCF, my perspective began to change. I missed my hometown. My friends, family, the backroads I used to cruise around— I missed all of it. I didn’t have any really good friends on campus at first, and it was hard to say I was happy with my choice to go to UCF. When I was still in high school, the idea of going to school in Florida seemed like such a great thing in my mind. But once I was here, the reality was it often felt like a bad thing.

I think we can all benefit if we make the choice to think a little bit more before we react to things.

Something deep down told me to just stick it out, and I’m very glad I did because all of the problems faded away as I got adjusted to life here. I have made amazing friends and have learned to love the whole experience at UCF. I wish I thought more deeply about the words of Shakespeare during this time.

UCF hadn’t radically changed; rather my perspective had. This is why I think Shakespeare was correct when he said that thinking is what actually makes things good or bad.

Every decision I have made in college so far, every event that has happened, has impacted me in ways that stretched beyond when they initially happened. For example, I missed my friends from back home at first and I felt bad about it. Eventually, this made me try harder to meet new people at school and I made new friends.

So, I really believe that my feeling bad about not having any friends was ultimately a good thing. What was once bad to me is now good. That is what Shakespeare was saying!

Looking ahead, this same principle can be applied in more serious matters than having or not having friends. Dealing with life has been harder for all of us lately because of the pandemic and all of the other struggles we face in our society.

However, I think we can all benefit if we make the choice to think a little bit more before we react to things. If something terrible happens to you, try your hardest to accept that Shakespeare was right. Maybe it isn’t so bad after all; maybe it will be a blessing in disguise.

Just stay calm long enough to find out.

Narvin Chhay is a UCF junior majoring in sport and exercise science. He can be reached at

The UCF Forum is a weekly series of opinion columns from faculty, staff and students who serve on a panel for a year. A new column is posted each Wednesday on UCF Today and then broadcast on WUCF-FM (89.9) between 7:50 and 8 a.m. Sunday. Opinions expressed are those of the columnists, and are not necessarily shared by the University of Central Florida.