A Seniors Perspective: Letter to Freshman Self


In about five months, I will be calling myself an alumni of Grand Canyon University. I will be all "grown up" and facing the real adult world, with real adult problems, that my college experience may or may not have prepared me for. Looking back, I have no regrets at all in my college experience. But there are a few things I wish I knew when I was a college freshman. I decided to reflect on them in a letter to my freshman self.



Abriel,

First things first. Call your mom. She’s probably blowing up your phone already. It gets annoying sometimes, but you’re going to need her. I mean, give her a break, you are almost 3000 miles from home. There’s going to be some moments where you want to punch yourself for going to school so far away, but she'll remind you why it's worth it.

College is going to take more of you than you ever expected. In a few short years, you’re going to become an entirely different person. Take a good look in the mirror now. Not only will your hair be longer than you thought, but in four years’ time, you’ll be almost unrecognizable. You lose yourself a little along the way. Don't worry though, sometime later, once you’ve realized who you don’t want to be, you’re going to find yourself again. You’re going to be new and different—not at all who you thought you’d be– but someone even better. Someone who enjoys studying, who likes matching pajama sets and who calls her mom at least every other day. 

Now, I won't lie to you and say that your first year, or any year after that is smooth and easy going. Because it definitely is not. You're going to leave the University of Hawai'i (shocker I know), to transfer to Grand Canyon University. Although you thought you would never leave, it is probably one of the best decisions you've ever made. Not only do you keep the amazing friends you made in Hawai'i, but you're going to meet great people at GCU too. Hang on tight to those floor 9 Lokelani girls though, because those are your people. We got really lucky with them. You'll change your major about 3 times, and that's okay. It may seem stressful at the time, but you figure it all out and in the end you are happy you didn't stick with your first choice.

Make sure you go to all of your classes because you are going to need those attendance points. You are so smart, and there is no reason for you to get a C in a class because you would rather sleep in than show up to a morning class. And while we are on the subject, stop scheduling early morning classes, for your sake. Also, do all of your homework or you will regret it!

Go to office hours. Seriously, do it. If you ever thought that your high school classes were hard, you had no idea about what college is like. Professors in college are not like teachers in high school; they are not going to remember your name from just seeing you sitting in class. 

Please, for your own sanity, find alone time. Find things you like to do by yourself. Read or just sit on your bed and watch Netflix, find time to be by yourself and recharge! You're going to need it, trust me.

It's okay not to be okay. It's okay to cry. You will find that you are going to be challenged mentally, emotionally, and physically. More than you ever thought you would be. You can and you will get through it. That doesn't mean that you can't take time to feel emotions. You're strong, but you don't have to put on a fake smile and pretend that nothing is wrong. 

Remember to call your grandparents. You don’t realize now how limited of a time you have with them. Unfortunately, you will find that out sooner than you thought. Your junior year is going to be your toughest year because you'll lose your bestfriend in the whole world, granny. And although you didn't think you could finish without her, you'll find that losing her pushes you to finish even harder and stronger. She sees your effort and she loves you. Remember that.

I could go on and on, but you don’t really need me to. You’re going to be fine. Soak it all up and remember, it goes faster than you would have ever imagined. College may take a lot out of you, but it’s going to give it all back in completely new ways. Whatever you do, don t give up.


Love,
Your Senior Self


I'll be starting my last semester of senior year in a few weeks.  I have my best friends at my side. I talk to my mom probably more than anyone else. I truly thought I had my life planned out, and now I’m going in a completely different direction. But I am happy with my life and with who I am. I can't wait to see where life takes me after this.

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HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

"Not always eye to eye.. but always heart to heart."

Happy mothers day to all the mothers out there! 
I wish that I could be with my mother day, especially since I haven't spent a mothers day with her in FOUR YEARS! Although, I have had very good reason to not be with her the past 3. Every mothers day of my college years has been spent with my great grandmother, and this is the first year without her here. It's a hard day. I woke up and immediately thought "I need to call granny!" and then realized that I could not. And although this made me extreme sad, it also made me remember that not only do I still have my mother, but I have 3 other grandmothers, and MANY other mother figures who love me and who also care for me. Although I lost a big part of my life and heart, I am not alone. I am not unloved or forgotten about. And I just wanted to remind all the mothers who have made a big impact in my life, that you are never forgotten about. I think of you often, even if I don't speak with you all the time. Not only that, but I love each and every one of you unconditionally and I am so glad that you are apart of my life. There are not enough gifts or ways to say I love you, to truly show the appreciation for what you do for your children every single day. I can't thank you enough for all the love and compassion we are spoiled with. 

To my mother, my backbone, my caretaker, and my biggest supporter (tied with granny because we both know she'd fight you for the title lol). I love you so much. I know our relationship and life has not always been the easiest, especially because we both know I am a handful! But I know that you have done your best, and you have always loved me, and I know you always will. I hope you never forget that everything I am, is because of you. Thanks for being my human incubator ;)
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College Student Struggles

It's been awhile since I have written a personal blog post, let alone a blog post at all. However, I felt the need to discuss something that came up in one of my online philosophy classes. 



For my online classes we have weekly discussion questions that have to be answered. A few weeks ago the discussion question was this.. "Take stock of an aspect of your own life in which you struggle to be virtuous. Think about why this might be the case and what action you intend to take to develop and maintain this virtue consistently in your life." Living a virtuous life can be a struggle for college students everywhere. Although no two college students have the same experience, the undergraduate years are marked by certain commonalities: students are challenged intellectually, socially, and ethically.


My classmates responses were all very interesting, but I did notice a recurring pattern. A lot of them spoke about struggling with patience. Whether it be when in class, with homework, while driving, or even with themselves. I began to really wonder why so many of my classmates struggled with being patient. Is it because we can get almost anything at the snap of our fingers due to technology? Or possibly some other reason? My professor also brought this up and asked if we believed it was because we live in a culture that promotes immediate gratification, hyper technology, and information overload. I definitely think this is the reason and because of this we are faced with having expectations that are void of the maturation that comes within the journey of time. 

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World Cancer Day & Childhood Cancer Day


 Every year on February 4th since 2000 has been World Cancer Day!

You might be wondering why that day is even important. Currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years)! World Cancer Day and Childhood Cancer Day are opportunity]i to spread the word as a community and raise the profile of cancer in people's mind, as well as in the world's media. 

February 15th was Childhood Cancer Day!
Globally, childhood and adolescent cancer is threatening to overtake infectious diseases, as one of the highest causes of disease-related mortality in children. I hope and ask that stakeholders in healthcare, parents, families, and communities advocate for government collaboration with national civil society organizations, non-profit groups and local communities to ensure that children and adolescents with cancer have appropriate care and support through the childhood cancer journey. It's not an easy journey and children with cancer - and even survivors like myself - will always need support. Be a voice for the voiceless and help raise awareness. You may think.. why does this apply to me? my child doesn't have cancer.. I never had cancer, etc. I thought the same once, and I never realized how important awareness for childhood cancer was until it happened to me. Don't wait until it happens to you or someone you know. Become educated and share your knowledge, donate, and continue to raise awareness to those around you and our government. If you'd like to make a donation then check this link out - >  http://bit.ly/2lT7KqG


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Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year Friends!

I brought in the new year in a great way! I was surrounded by good friends and I stayed out and danced all night! Unfortunately, I was too busy having fun to focus on getting pictures (on top of the fact that I was at a super packed night club lol), so you'll just have to imagine me dancing away with my friends! It was a great time honestly and I wish I could go back and do it again. But I know this year is going to be AMAZING and I already have so many fun things planned to do (in between my studying of course, ha!)

2016 was a rollercoaster. The passing of my grandma hit me hard. I am still grieving. The holiday season was very emotional for me because I always used to spend them with her..I'm actually going to keep this short because I am not one for pondering posts lately...

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and a very happy new years celebration! I love the reflection that a New Year brings, but I am really looking forward to 2017! I have a lot of BIG goals I want to accomplish this year and I am very excited to check them off my list!  

It's a fresh start so be sure to make this year count! Whether the resolutions you have are big or small, take each day one step at a time and don't forget to put new energy towards all of your goals!
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5 Years Cancer Free, Now What?


For anyone that is familiar with cancer, you know that hitting the 5 year mark is huge in the cancer world. Most cancers, if they recur, are most likely to recur in the first 5 years. So, when survivors reach that 5 year mark, it is a huge milestone and many feel like a huge weight is taken off of their shoulders knowing that the “5 year date” is behind them.
To be completely honest, I've been far too stressed, busy, and distracted with other things in life to really process this huge moment, but I know what I'm feeling deep inside.
I honestly have no words. I have had a really hard year, but this.. this is the light at the end of the tunnel. The icing on the cake! The day that marks a huge milestone in cancer survivorship is finally here...is finally mine. I did it! To be honest, I never thought I would get here. I didn't even think I would make it to high school graduation and now I am a senior in college. Now, don't get me wrong. I’m under no illusions that five years under my belt gives me a permanent free pass. But I know that I worked hard to make it here and I am going to celebrate all day! 
When you feel threatened and like your days are numbered, you really learn how to LIVE your life fully, and you appreciate things that so many take for granted. I've lived more each year since cancer than I had in all of my life prior to cancer combined, and I've had five amazing and full years like that now. Cancer really does open your eyes and give you a whole new perspective on life, and I wouldn't give that back for the world.
So what changes in my life moving forward, now that I’m five years cancer free? Do I forget all of this, and go back to living my life how I did before? Not a chance. Cancer and the challenges of life after have marked my life in ways that are permanent, and I've had to evolve in ways that are permanent in response. There's no going back.
A cancer diagnosis as a teenager is a very deeply traumatizing experience in that it strips us of every sense of security that we might have had about our lives, our health and supposed longevity, and our futures and if we'll even have one anymore, all during the period of our lives when we're supposed to feel invincible.
I can never know how many days I have, or if my cancer will come back or not. Living my life fully in the present each day, helps me feel secure in that I'm not wasting my days or my life. 
I passed the 5 year mark… it just brings me to praise. It literally drops me to my knees. Our God is so incredibly mighty.
There are many days I wish he wouldn’t have used me and my family to show His glory in the way that he has ( I know that is completely selfish), but I am just blown away by Him and utterly thankful, as I have had a literal front seat to His miraculous power.
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