Over the past few months, I’ve taken a few minutes out of my day to write down three things that I am grateful for — and admittedly a lot of those things included pizza delivery, cancelled plans, cupcakes and free beer glasses (where are my cheap, lazy, sweet-toothed introverts at?). I am grateful for more than 138 things in my life.
It is so easy, when you are in the midst of school and work chaos, to forget that there is plenty to be grateful for and it is too often that we let our busy schedules get in the way of doing what matters to us. I am far guiltier of this than I care to admit. Too much of my college experience was spent grouching about how much work I have to do and glorifying my overwhelming schedule, because that is what people do nowadays. We applaud worry and stress and look down upon this ostensibly foreign concept of “free time.” Taking a few moments to think about what we are grateful for every day encourages a more mindful and inspired life that focuses on what is important.
I am grateful for Xavier University. My first week as a freshman, I honestly loved this school as much as I love root canals, but over the years Xavier unintentionally became a second family to me. I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I rolled my eyes (countless times), I swore loudly (sorry, parents) and I questioned just about everything there is to question. But now, only a couple weeks from the moment I step in front of my classmates, my friends, my professors, my leaders and my supporters to grab that overly-expensive piece of paper, I appreciate the imprint that Xavier left on my heart. Xavier, like any family, can drive you crazy. The classes may make you want to rip your hair out, the professors may make you feel like writing a strongly worded comment on evaluations and the constant sound of unending construction may make you feel like punching a wall and yelling at said wall. But Xavier taught me what no other school could teach me.
I learned to positively criticize myself, push my own boundaries, evoke confidence, accept my flaws, laugh even when it seems there is nothing to laugh about, be a woman for others and never take life too seriously. Xavier, somehow, someway, in its imperfection, made a lasting impact on my life. Although Xavier may be the source of 98 percent of the stress in my life, I am beyond grateful for the time I spent here. I have learned to appreciate the moments in my life that challenged me and solidified my character.
Without the challenges that Xavier threw my way, I would not be the strong, confident woman that I am. So while you are busy throwing around schedules and moaning about not having any time to enjoy the little things in your life that make you smile, remember to stop every so often and be mindful of the things that you are grateful for, be it your family, your pet, your education or the surprisingly satisfying treat that is “spicy balls.”
Xavier is one of the best places to realize that there is more out there than club meetings and homework (though those are still important). Be more mindful of how you spend your time here. Don’t look back at your life in college and think about how much you did but how little you experienced. Look back at the times where you threw up your hands, surrendered yourself to the world and decided to live gratefully.