Take a minute for positive reminders

Using positive reminders can help students through the most difficult and stressful times. It’s important to remember to breathe and be grateful for the small things.

The first week of the school is always overwhelming. You can’t find classrooms or parking spots.  This time of the year, any school is in the chaos, even for students who have been in schools for years like me.

In the midst of the busiest week of the year, I believe everybody needs a little bit of positivity in their life, as mental strength is one of the important things to get through all the difficulties you will run into at school.  

What I mean by positive reminder is not the unoriginal and clueless reminders like “you’ve got this” or “don’t worry, you will be fine.” My positive daily reminder is “appreciate what you have right in front of you.”

This has been my reminder since I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a year ago. I am originally from Japan. I traveled to the United States in 2015 all by myself to study at Orange Coast College.  

I was very overwhelmed on the first day of the school.  Everything was in English and I didn’t speak English at that time.  

As classes were getting harder, my mental condition was getting weaker.  Every day, I used to tell myself before school, “don’t get B’s, that’s what losers get.” What a harsh and negative reminder, right?

Then a year later, I found myself sick on a hospital bed as a cancer patient. I was in depression after the diagnosis was made.  

One day, my counselor told me to change my negative thinking to positive.  But I kept asking myself, “How could I possibly be positive in this situation?” I thought she was just doing her job to make me feel positive but that was not the case.

It is very difficult sometimes to be positive during the hardest times. It almost makes you feel stupid but that is the key component to being positive. So I started with small things, like smiling at nurses and doctors in the hospital. Then I started to talk to more people.

As I recognized my body condition was improving, I was able to appreciate what I have right in front of me.  Things like being allowed to walk outside of the ICU room after two weeks of isolation, or to be able to breathe outside air on the patio — the small things we all do as human beings.  Every baby step I was able to take, I appreciated it and tried not to take it for granted.  

You don’t have to go this far.  You don’t have to be sick.  You can start now by appreciating the small things you are able to do including school and work. Just appreciate that you are able to go to school or the people you have around you. Annoying siblings or parents, friends and lovers.

One day at a time. Do the best you can. I wish you the best of luck, Pirates.

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