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As we close a very challenging year, a few SCO student bloggers are sharing reflections on gratitude and thankfulness. We hope this post imparts some joy, thoughtfulness, and calm. All of us here at SCO wish you a very safe and happy holiday season.
Happy holidays, everyone!
As I contemplate what has transpired in the year 2020, I am reminded that I decide what 2020 has meant to me. The year 2020 needs no introduction. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to focus on things for which I am grateful. This came along with the hashtag #givethanks. It has been amazing to see social media explode with millions of posts about family, friends, lessons learned from trials, life, beauty, etc. This does not discredit how difficult life can be, but focusing on gratitude has helped me adjust my perspective. Here are a few of my thoughts:
The Earth is a marvelous place. I enjoy and #givethanks for its beauty wherever I find myself! I am from Utah and I miss seeing the majestic mountains, but I cannot get over how luscious and green it is here.
I have been thinking about the wonderful people I meet because of SCO. My great classmates, kind staff, patient faculty, and supportive patients have really made my life special and full of meaning. I #givethanks to the people I rub shoulders with every day as they help me realize what truly matters in life.
Lastly, I would not be where I am today without my sweet wife, Annaliese, and family who continue to support me especially when almost every time we talk on the phone I am studying or taking exams! It has been a sacrifice to be 1,500 miles away and only physically see family a couple of times per year. I #givethanks to Annaliese for her love and patience as she helps me fulfill one of my dreams of becoming an optometrist.
I am excited for this holiday season when the world becomes a little kinder and more thoughtful. I invite everyone to try and #givethanks at this time, and always, and see how it changes your life!
Have a successful, safe, and healthy holiday season!
Hi everyone! It’s Paige Willett from the Class of 2024! When thinking back on 2020, I think most of us can agree it hasn’t been the best year for anyone. Going into this year I was so excited for what it would hold. I was going to be starting optometry school in “the year of perfect vision” aka 2020. The year took a turn no one expected it to, but there have still been so many good things to be thankful for in 2020. I’m thankful that despite being sent home in the middle of my senior year I was still able to graduate from Arkansas State University (go red wolves!). And that by being sent home early, I got to spend four extra months with my family before moving to Memphis.
I am also thankful I was still able to begin my first year of optometry school at SCO. I have absolutely been loving this semester, it is hard but so rewarding. I couldn’t make a list of things I’m thankful for without including my lab group, shoutout to group 1A. They have become the greatest friends and I’m thankful I get to see the top half of their faces four days a week in lab.
The best thing that all this extra time at home has given me is the chance to get a puppy! Her name is Gigi and she’s a standard poodle. She is so fun and I have loved having her company. She even made a debut in our ocular anatomy class when she walked across my keyboard and typed something in the class chat. Dr. Grant is a fellow animal lover so the whole class got a good laugh out of it. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to get Gigi during my first semester, which otherwise would have been too busy for a puppy without online classes.
Of course, a list of things to be thankful for wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Amazon Prime. Whether I needed dog toys, ankle weights for at-home workouts, a new book to read, or something else to keep me entertained at home they’ve had it on my doorstep in two short days ;). Hope you all can spend time thinking back on the good things of 2020 to be thankful for.
It’s not a hot take to say that 2020 has been a difficult year for all, cataclysmic for some. I’ve found it extremely challenging to come up with a sincere statement about gratitude because the cold truth is, it isn’t always easy being grateful. It’s not like waiting around until your stomach screams that it’s hungry. Gratitude is more like getting in shape, and takes time to improve. You have to try, and at least in my case, fail many times before you see any progress. I have panicked a few times that this piece would turn into an inauthentic, Hallmark-card-cliche about giving thanks around the holidays. I’ve written for thirty minutes only to delete every single word of trite nonsense no less than three times. Through the aggravation, I have realized something important; the effort and frustration is the whole point. I had to set my phone down to avoid the constant dumpster fire of a newsfeed, drink warm coffee on my couch, and allow my thoughts to wander a bit to get there. I had to reconcile the fact that, although things feel more chaotic and uncertain than ever before in my life, it is perfectly possible to express gratitude for everything positive in life, all while willing some things to change.
This year provided a massive opportunity to remember, and express gratitude for, all the things I take for granted, or even complain about on a regular basis. When I honestly consider my life, I realize how great things really are, even when they feel their worst. While I don’t always love my cooking, I am grateful that I have the ability to buy and prepare myself food. I don’t always dress the best, but I am grateful that I have clothing to wear and shoes on my feet. Although I haven’t seen many of them in far too long, I have friends that will pick up their phones (rather, they eventually text me back) when I need someone to talk to. I am in school pursuing a career that will afford me so many opportunities to play to my strengths and passions, and already has. My favorite thing to complain about— my car— still gets me where I need to be on time almost every time I turn the key. Why is it so natural for me to fixate on the few times in the past year when my car hasn’t behaved predictably? Of course it feels like it happens at the least convenient times; cars acting up is always inconvenient. I simply don’t realize all the times my car does not let me down. Recognizing this through the headache is the beginning of gratitude.
As counterintuitive as it seems and feels, in this dead battery of a year, it may be the perfect time to look at our lives and say “I’m lucky I have so much to lose.” There will always be problems. Instead of fixating on them, causing us to panic, despair, and make things worse, we can realize that those problems keep us employed. They give us challenges to solve, fulfilling our biological and psychological needs. Problems teach us so much more than when things go smoothly (e.g. ask me about my car’s front end). Keeping an appropriate perspective when the inevitable bad creeps into our lives will help us live longer, more joyful lives. You cannot control what happens, only how you react to it. The next time a crisis arises, without minimizing it or procrastinating its solution, take a moment to breathe deeply. Realize that no matter what you feel you are losing, it is only possible because you already have so much; your car can’t break down if you don’t have a car.