Are you willing…. to stop asking how much your friends love you, and to ask yourself if you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you? ….Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you are ready to keep Christmas! ~ Henry van Dyke
For many around the world, Christmas 2016 is about celebration and relaxing after a year of hard work. My Christmas season, as a UoL student, has more to it; catching up on whatever that I have missed on and keeping up to the workload that is on the way. I suspect it is the same with many of my fellow students.
As I progress through my studies, I am realizing the pivotal role friends and family support plays in a program of this nature. Many of us have taken the challenge of self-studying a rigorous program by themselves. Some of us are being brave to juggle work and studies both. Some of us are taking care of young families, some even children.
It has only been a few months and I’m only in my first year of study. But I have realized that a word of kindness or encouragement from a loved one can take you a long way. Every time I share the struggles I face or the small victories I gain with someone I care (and who cares about me), I know that I’m not alone and perhaps it is not all about myself.
While the studies offer us students enough challenge, I believe that it is hard for our friends and family as well. I have found myself being less patient than usual with my loved ones. I have found myself rejecting invitations from my loved ones because I needed to study that night. I have found myself spending less time with my loved ones because of what I am going through.
In this Christmas season, the season of giving, let me thank and be grateful for the kind people who have stood by me so far and kept saying “You can do this!”. My efforts would not be the same without your good words.
In this Christmas season, the season of love, let me pay respect and bow to all my fellow students and their loved ones who stand by them. You all deserve admiration for your efforts.
In this Christmas season, the season of caring, let me wish strength and courage to anyone who reads this who may be struggling with less than ideal scenarios at home, less than ideal relationships or loneliness. Please keep rising and stand tall, no matter how hard it is.
I wish you all Plenty to enjoy the good times, Power to overcome the bad times and Peace to live through the times in between in this Christmas and the coming New Year!
Kasun is studying the CertHE in English by distance learning in Sri Lanka.