This list is a compilation of experiences that occur in academia that give people joy. Many of these were written directly to me and come from different perspectives. If you would like to add yours then feel free to leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully you will find some inspiration from this list and go after what brings you joy!
1. Successfully completing a project that you thought you could not do, or that was extremely difficult at the time.
2. Learning new computer languages and frameworks. For some people learning new languages can be a tedious and difficult task, but for many this is a great way really distract yourself and try to create something new. Although the process at times can be frustrating, being able to finally solve the problem makes it worth it.
3. Solving a difficult problem finally and understanding why you could not solve the problem before, and understanding the solution.
4. Learning a new and interesting fact.
5. Teaching someone how to do something. It is always nice to teach someone how to do something they want to know, and seeing their face change from confusion to complete understanding.
6. Doing really well or just passing a class.
7. Creating a document that helps me spread my knowledge on a subject, and helps others learn in another way that might be more understandable to them.
8. Remembering things that you succeeded at during your life even when you felt that those things were not possible. When you think about it, many things may seem impossible at this given moment, but just like other things in the past, anything unexpected could happen and prove you wrong.
9. Suddenly having a very creative idea. What is even better is if you try to implement that idea in some way. Thinking of something unique is always something you should be proud about.
10. Remembering a teacher or faculty who really inspired you to either do better in school, to like something you thought you wouldn’t, or who was a primary reason on why you chose the career you did.
11. Graduating. Always pat yourself on the back for being able to graduate and getting your degree.
12. Understanding and learning new material. Really increasing your knowledge base is always a great thing. You are able to form more connections between various subjects and really be proud of those accomplishments.
13. Suddenly having a very creative idea. What is even better is if you try to implement that idea in some way. Thinking of something unique is always something you should be proud about.
14. Visiting a conference that you enjoy attending and maybe even doing a presentation on your research.
15. The feeling when you get accepted into colleges or get offered scholarships.
16. Learning about physics, astronomy, and the universe in general. Just an amazing topic in general.
17. Taking a day off of work or school and just relaxing.
18. Liking a subject that you always thought you would hate or used to dislike before. Even better than liking the subject is finding out that you are good at the material.
19. Knowing that a teacher or someone will take the extra time to help you learn and understand something.
20. Having a faculty member really support you in your studies and believe that you can succeed and do well.
21. The knowledge that you tried your absolute hardest at something.
22. Figuring out your thesis or dissertation topic.
23. Obtaining a high score on a standardized exam.
24. Offer to mentor another younger student in your program. Offering guidance may help you feel good and will certainly be helpful to the other student.
25. Join a club you find really interesting. Better yet, try to become a leader in that club.
26. Take a class in a subject you have always been interested in but were too afraid to commit to majoring in. Sometimes if you are unhappy with your major, taking other interesting classes may help you figure out what you should be doing instead.
27. Offer to become a teaching or research assistant for a professor you really find inspirational.
28. Start a study group if you are having a difficult time in the class. Usually you are not the only one. Study groups help and give an outlet to voice your concerns about the class.
29. Ask for your work to be reviewed by a friend. If you are worried about a paper or project, asking a friend or colleague to look it over may help relieve some of that stress.