It's easy to get caught up in the busy atmosphere of the holidays as the semester draws to a close. We begin to think about Thanksgiving break (and winter break shortly after), final exams, traveling, seeing family/friends from home, and of course, taking time to wind down after a difficult semester. While the holidays are a well-deserved break for us, it is important to remember the reasons we are where we've made it to in our lives in the first place.
For me, breaks from school tend to be just as stressful as actually being in class. I schedule all of my doctor's appointments and time for running errands during break and try to make time to meet with all of my friends from high school. My family bakes cookies, decorates for Christmas, shops for presents, and squeezes just about everything humanly possible into the scarce amount of time during these breaks.
Over the past few years, I've tried to take a few minutes during this busy time of year to reflect on the blessings that I have in my life. Even though I oftentimes get frustrated and overwhelmed, I try to remember to take a step back and be thankful for where I am, and how I got to be there.
Here is a list of a few things this year that I am particularly thankful for:
I am incredibly blessed to have a family that is supportive of who I am and what I want to do with my life. Aside from attending all of my swim meets and our nightly phone calls, my mom reminds me every day how proud of me she is, and that she is always here to support me. Although my sister feels like a lifetime away from me at grad school in New York City, we text every day and are constantly reminding each other to work hard, stay strong, and be proud of our accomplishments. I am particularly thankful for my dad's patience with me this past Sunday, as he missed one of the Jet's only wins so far this season so that he could drive three hours with me to Gettysburg to complete a project for a class that I totally waited until the last minute to do.
My roommates have basically become my second family at this point, and I could not be happier to have found a group of such amazing life-long friends. While I think we were all a little nervous going into this school year (six girls living in a room with only one shower? We'll see how that goes...), we have carried such a strong bond and made incredible memories that I would not trade for the world. These five girls have become my best friends and I would not be where I am today without their friendship, support, and late-night Just Dance Abba sessions.
While there are definitely some days that I think to myself during practice "This is it. This is the practice that Cindy and Josh are finally going to kill me," I know I would not be the swimmer or person I am today without them. They have not only made me improve in the pool, but have helped me grow over the past year into a more confident and happier version of that nervous freshman that walked on to Cabrini's pool deck last September. They are always there to help me with difficult decisions, listen to my frustrations, and (literally) dry my tears when I am stressed and upset about classes. I also want to thank my teammates for supporting me on the tough days, putting up with my grumpy morning practice attitude, and putting a smile on my face after a bad race. My swimming experience would not be the same without their craziness, and I wouldn't want to be a part of any other swim team.
Overall, much of what I am most thankful for is a result of being a student here at Cabrini. I would not have met the amazing people in my life or been given life-changing opportunities if it weren't for my decision to become a cavalier. While there are definitely days where I am overwhelmed with my classes or frustrated that I have to park what feels like miles away from my building again, I know that Cabrini is the place I am meant to be. I know I do not take enough time to be thankful for my education, and one of my goals going into the spring semester is reflecting more often on what it means to be a student at Cabrini. I am in a place where I am supported and encouraged to use my knowledge and talents to grow and become the best version of myself that I can become.
As we near the end of the fall semester and begin to prepare for the holiday breaks, I encourage everyone to reflect on what they're thankful for. It's easy to make a list of the things we take for granted every day, but I challenge everyone reading this to truly think of why these things are important to you, and keep it in the back of your mind as you make your way through the spring semester. Sometimes life throws hardships and obstacles our way, but I encourage you to hold on to what is important in your life and let that motivate you to stay strong and keep going.