What I’m Grateful For

I’m drinking two cups of coffee, staying up at 3 in the morning doing homework, and a flood of negative thoughts continuously cloud my mind. Deadlines are waiting, stress acne is appearing, and this cycle just never seems to stop. November and December have been, by far, the busiest month I’ve ever experienced. I could’ve sworn I just finished a second round of midterms, but low and behold, finals have arrived and by this point, I’m so close to burning out.

While trying to keep up with all the chaos and mayhem, I’m in a vicious cycle of “eat, sleep, study, repeat”. Not realizing the emotional stress it’s been creating, I break down in tears not knowing why. Even though exams aren’t conventionally associated with positivity, it’s made me realize something really valuable: being thankful.

If my mom were to read the title of this and had to guess who wrote it, I’ll bet you a month’s worth of bubble tea she would’ve never guessed it was me– but there’s a pretty good reason for that. My mom notoriously scolded me for being the ungrateful child. I’d constantly be unsatisfied and complain about the smallest inconvenience in my life. Rarely ever did I acknowledge my mom’s efforts of cooking for me, driving me to school, cleaning after me, and the list goes on. If you picture this exact scenario two-three years ago, you’d see me rolling my eyes and walking away (yes, I know, I’m sorry I wasn’t the best child– and I still might not be, but I’m tryinggg).

I’d cautiously say I’ve grown up a bit since then, and what really made this happen was moving away for university. Coming to university meant having to adapt to a new environment, taking care of myself when I got sick, and leaving behind the freedom I got to experience in my last year in high school. My friends, family, and CSA have helped me grow and transition during my first semester being at Western.

  1. Friends: Whether it be having game nights, watching movies together or dealing with me when I’m stressed– they’ve been the best support system by my side, and they know who they are. As cheesy as it might sound, imagining myself living through these first four months of university would be impossible without them– I’m so grateful for all of you.

  2. Family: Although expressing emotion is far from status quo in my family, I realized I somehow need to tell my parents how grateful I am for them (I can’t imagine the look on their faces, especially my mom). Living a few months away from them made me realize how much they’ve done for me, and still continue to do for me. From my mom suddenly deciding to drive up two hours to come help take care of me when I’m sick, to preparing boxes of homecooked food, to my dad sending me block-texts of life advice (you the biggest OG, dad!) in chinglish.

  3. CSA: The family away from home. At the beginning of September, I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting joining CSA. Of course I had made a few assumptions, but it did little to prepare me for what was coming. Whether it be bonding at booth in UCC, playing high-stakes rounds of UNO with my department, or celebrating the holiday season with each other at the Christmas social– CSA has been the best part of university that’s happened to me.

So, if you’re here just like me and you’re stressing over exams and losing motivation, remember that there’s so much to look forward to and to be happy about. Take a break from studying, sit back, and remember all the things that you are grateful for– big or small. It doesn’t have to be tangible items, think about experiences, memories, and people! Don’t let the stress and negativity from exams tarnish the holiday season!