Over the past few weeks I’ve been practicing the action of making gratitude lists. The name is self-explanatory, and the action is intuitive. I encourage you once a week to take 10 minutes out of your day and write down all the things that you’re grateful for. The act of creating a gratitude list retrains your brain to focus on the good things in your life; you’ll be less tempted to give into a negative thought process. In fact, it will be easier to get through repeated hardship, the times of life when these lows seem unremitting.
Sickness is one of the many afflictions that may strike a student and it doesn’t get a lot of sympathy. My first year, I caught the flu and developed a fever so bad it landed me in an ambulance on the way to Cayuga Med. All I remember was being grateful it happened on a Saturday, and that I was back in class the following Monday. This lack of sympathy stems from the fact that almost every student is in some stage of sickness right now, be it the “I think I’m starting to get sick” phase or the “I think I might finally be better now” phase. Mental health is a whole other can of worms.
My “college cooking” expectations quickly confronted reality during my first few weeks back at school this year. Since the last few months of my freshman year, I planned the big move into my first apartment, as well as built my website, the Collegetown Kitchen. I drew from my knowledge as a home cook, my experience working at a bakery and the advice of many trusted cooks to curate the perfect recipe for college cooking success. I wrote lists of pantry-staple ingredients one can’t do without and what to use them for, named every piece of cooking equipment a student might need, explained basic food safety and published over 3o recipes and articles adapted to a minimalist kitchen and a college budget. And then a couple of days after arriving in Ithaca, mono hit.
Nothing reminds me how disgusting I am like the common cold. When I get sick, both my entire body and everything I touch become covered in a thin layer of mucus in some really twisted and slimy version of the Midas Touch. I get breakouts from cold sweats. I put what little hair I have into what can only be described as a “man bun.” I am physically repulsed by the thought of putting on pants that are not pajamas. When my nose is runny, I have to carry around an entire box of Kleenex and a plastic bag.