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  • Kyla Guilfoil

yours truly, kyla

Lately, I’ve been thinking about gratitude. I really believe that gratitude is a practice; it doesn’t come naturally, at least when everything around you seems to be crumbling. And recently, it seems like everything is crumbling.

When midterms came to a close and I was yearning for a breath of fresh air, I instead found a fresh pile of assignments begging for immediate attention. With no spring break this year, it is full steam ahead, and my steam supply feels like it’s on its last legs. With no rest, so much stress, and a complete feeling of lost control, how do I feel gratitude? I think I’m able to answer that now.

A year ago, I was a senior in high school in a homogeneous, suburban, upstate New York town, finishing meaningless second semester high school classes and living in a blur of despair. I never really flourished in that town, it was always as if I was aching for something more. Unfortunately, high school became an environment where my mental health spiraled, and the first month of quarantine last year left me in the worst mental and physical health I had ever experienced.

Despite committing to Manhattan College for the next four years, I wasn’t sure I was going to last until September. At that point, there seemed to be nothing tangible enough to grab onto with hope in hand. But I guess that’s the thing about rock bottom, you either stay down unmovingly, or you’re forced to work your way back up. Fortunately, there were people that cared about me enough to encourage me to chase the light at the end of my tunnel.

With all that said, I sit now in Riverdale, in the city I had always dreamed of escaping to. I study what I truly love and I am doing what I believe will really make a difference one day, even if just to one person. Even the fact that your eyes are on these words right now gives me such a giddy sense of contentedness, one I doubted I could achieve. And this kind of feeling is what reminds me, through all the tedious and unrelenting work, that I have so much to be grateful for.

I owe it to myself to remember what I’m doing here, and how much more fulfilled I am than the going-through-the-motions suburban robot was. I am alive, I am so alive, and that is something I can finally embrace.

yours truly,



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