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In Thanks of Support

by Nov 30, 2018

As I sit here at Barnes and Nobles studying, I am taking a bit of time to reflect on my life and the events of these past few weeks. Looking out the window as people are hustling and bustling, starting their holiday shopping, life seems a whirlwind of events that we are all robotically carrying out.

The day of Thanksgiving, I walked into my half-brother’s home, and the first thing my family all said was,“Where have you been?!?!” It was great to catch up on each other’s lives, especially having dinner together and eventually falling into carb-comas. What got my attention most was my 8-year-old niece. She came up to me, sat on my lap and just held me. The innocence of her telling me she missed me was priceless and so rewarding. The purity of her feelings was sweet as she whispered, “I have missed you so much, but I know you have to do what you have to do.”


Over the past couple of weeks, I had the responsibility of putting together and hosting an herbal tea tasting for the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Student Association (AOMSA); it was a huge success! On the same weekend, we had a great turnout for the end of trimester dinner that AOMSA hosts in honor of our soon-to-be graduates for all their hard work. On top of studying for exams and life in general, I didn’t realize how much I had done until I began receiving friends’ feedback on how successful they felt the events were. At times I feel like I am practically a robot going here and there, sending and responding to emails, forgetting where I left my water bottle …skipping meals or forgetting to eat due to time limitations…sleepless nights planning what to say at the next meeting, or what to study for… 

I have to admit that I have depleted myself quite a bit, yet I have many friends for support–they keep me accountable for taking care of myself. I am very thankful for every supportive friend around me on and off campus at NUHS…for my mommy, who always has dinner ready and waiting up for me at 10:30 p.m.–or until I get home…for my best friend, checking in on me to make sure I have taken a moment for myself during the day. (If he doesn’t hear from me, he tracks me down to talk my ear off, or feed me)!…for receiving texts from my kick-boxing coach, urging me to take it easy, but always willing to kick my behind for neglecting myself… 

I reminisce back to where my family began, coming to the States with nothing, and building their lives to provide for their own homes and families. It’s not complicated, I just need to take a moment for myself every now and then. I understand what my niece said to me. I know I have to sacrifice certain parts of myself at this time to get things done, yet also remember to take time to look past what is now, and see what is ahead. I need to take a moment to enjoy the journey. We each have our own path, sometimes hard, sometimes easy. But, we need each challenge to appreciate life: just breathe.

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About the Author

Rina Sem

Rina Sem

Rina Sem is a student at the Lombard, Illinois campus studying in the Master of Science-Oriental Medicine program. Though working in the medical field for 10 years, she is keeping the promise she made to her father to complete her master’s degree. Rina is a first-generation American of Cambodian heritage, and passionate about her studies in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.


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