Final Thoughts: Move Forward

amazon-1300350_960_720On,Tuesday, April 18th, I had my first interactive tabling session and it was a success! Many students participated by taking the time to reflect on the many types of losses and by answering one of the following questions:

  • What’s one thing you told yourself to get through one of these types of losses?
  • What’s one thing you would tell someone going through one of these types of losses?
  • What is one thing you wish you could tell a loved one you lost or a person you lost as a friend?

The types of losses that the students reflected on were loss of motivation, loved one, identity/sense of self,  friendship and academic/career opportunity. I was amazed that so many students could identify with at least one of these types of losses and/or would know what to say to someone who was going through a similar situation. Something I’ve talked about a lot in my blog posts this semester was the power that words hold, and it was evident that other students are aware of that power as well.

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When I first started tabling, only a few students stopped to check out what I was tabling for. Maybe it was the visual appeal of the board or the actual title of the board that caught their attention. Either way, they were willing to participate and that was the exciting part. I know what I have said to get me through my own losses, what I would say to a loved one if they were still here, and one thing I would tell a someone going through the grief associated with loss. But I thought it would be great to see the responses from my peers here at the University at Albany. They all had really insightful things to say.

What students wrote under loss of academic/career opportunity:

  • “It’s okay, a better opportunity will come because what’s for you will not pass you.”
  • “Better opportunities will present themselves. Just wait.”
  • “Everyone stumbles at some point. It does not make you a failure.”
  • “When one door opens, another one closes. Keep your faith and hope.”
  • “Everything is a learning experience! Get back up and secure the next opportunity!”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”

What students wrote under loss of a loved one:

  • “I think about you every day.”
  • “Dear dad, thank you for trying so hard to dream big through your family. I wish I realized the weight of your struggle earlier. The pain. I would have taken more risks toward my goals. I would have been less afraid, using your strength as my example.”
  • “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”
  • “Don’t let me leaving stop you from going on with your life. Do your best ALWAYS.”
  • “Reach out to your friends for help.”
  • “Take time for yourself.”
  • “Just know, that everything I do is because of you.”
  • “It will get better to handle.”

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What students wrote under loss of identity/sense of self:

  • “Remember where you came from. Your circumstances may have changed but you are still the same.”
  • “Meditate. Take time out for yourself and the things you care about.” (Another student really agreed with this)
  • “Choose yourself every time. Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.”
  • “Would you speak to your friends the way you speak to yourself?”
  • “It is never too late to find yourself! Remove any negative aspects of your life and focus on what makes you, YOU!”
  • “Forgetting yourself usually means you forgot where you came from.”

What students wrote under loss of friendship:

  • “It’s your loss and mine.”
  • “I’m sorry. And I hope you are too.”
  • “If someone was really your friend, they would never have done something to lose you. It’s okay to be alone. Positive people will come along.” (Another student really agreed with this)
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”
  • “Remember the lessons the friendship taught you.”

What students wrote under loss of motivation:

  • “I know it’s hard, but you can get it all day. You have 32 days left.” (Another student really agreed with this)
  • “Just keep swimming.” (Another student loved this)
  • “Breathe and then start over again day by day.”
  • “Today’s a different day. Change your mindset and move forward with positive thoughts.”
  • “Why are you doing this in the first place?”
  • “It may be hard right now but you just have to push through it. Remember your big goal and keep pushing to achieve it. In the end, it will be worth it!”

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The words that my peers have written have one main thing in common: they are meant to help someone move forward after loss of any form. It is a beautiful thing that these students make an attempt to be empathetic. That is something that has always helped me –  the empathy of my friends and family.

masonjars.jpgThe next week, on April 25, I had my final interactive-tabling presentation on self-care. I asked several students to write down what they do for self-care. While out shopping for materials to use for the board, I was also inspired by own form of self-care, writing one good thing about my day everyday and putting it in a mason jar. Click here to find my blog on this and my own personal forms of self-care. I found these really cool mason jar tags that I couldn’t resist buying. I guess you can say I’m a little obsessed with mason jars. But I thought the concept of writing what you do for self-care was similar to what I did.

While tabling, some students had never really thought about self-care and needed time to think, while others were eager to share because just they finished doing some form of self-care! My purpose of this tabling was to share what other students are doing for self-care because there may be things that someone else does that can be helpful to you.

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Later that night, more student contributed to my board!

 

Some of the responses received were:

  • I write, go to concerts, and observe how precious life really is.
  • I work out 5 days a week and bake.
  • Play video games to interact with friends.
  • Sleep, repeat.
  • Take a long hot shower and practice stretching to relieve muscle tensions.
  • I listen to music when I need some self care!
  • I blow off steam #GoOut #chill
  • Work out
  • I make MEMES! #yeet
  • Color, listen to music, and do my hair (team natural)
  • I write, read, work out, and make vision boards with friends!
  • Sleep ❤
  • Play with my puppy ❤
  • I take long walks to clear my mind.
  • I go to CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services)
  • Ride in an ambulance (This student works for 5 quad)
  • I sleep, eat, bake and repeat 🙂
  • Take time to relax and watch Netflix
  • Listen to music, bands like Asobi Sekso always help
  • Buying myself my favorite flowers (sunflowers)
  • Work out & sleep
  • Relax by doing face masks and taking care of my skin 🙂
  • Physical activity to get negative energy out
  • I say going to the gym and taking care of business
  • Wash my hair!
  • Flyer making and Netflix

Overall, students really love watching their favorite movies and shows on Netflix. I can’t deny my love for this too. A lot of students work out, myself included. I think the forms of self-care that aren’t really seen as self-care are important too. Washing and doing your hair, as well as taking care of your skin are definitely forms of self-care. Making memes probably isn’t on everyone’s self-care list but I can see how relaxing and amusing this can be! I might even try this one for myself. If I’m feeling down about a situation, I will try making a meme about it, or just find one that relates to how I feel but finds humor in it. I also like the idea of observing how precious life really is. That’s self-care for a positive mindset for sure!

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If I didn’t have class (and if the weather was a lot warmer these days), I would have tabled for longer! I enjoyed interacting with students and learning about what they do for self-care. Many of them expressed how much they enjoyed this concept and wished there were more opportunities for it. I think it’s important for student’s voices to be heard, well their words written, because everyone has something valuable that can help someone else and it’s so important to share our stories.

I have been fortunate enough to share mine over the course of this semester through blogging with Project MyStory. A year ago, I would have been too consumed with grief to have realized how important it is to share my own story. Now that I have started my healing process, I can see clearly and know that my story has helped someone along the way. Even writing about my story through these blog posts have contributed to my own healing process.

I recently realized that I never explained what the title of my blog means: Pulled Back to Move Forward. I once heard a quote that really resonated with me:

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Whenever I feel like I am at a low point, I just think of myself as an arrow. I am being pulled back to move forward.

I hope these words from my interactive tabling help you, no matter what kind of loss you have experienced or are currently experiencing.

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Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:
kerry-debruce
Kerry D.
Class of 2017
Major: Psychology
Minors: English and Education
Blog Theme:
Pulled Back to Move Forward

 

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