Mental Health Reflections

Mental Health Reflections - Madeline Ma

How are you feeling right now? Talk about anything on your mind.

I am feeling quite happy and content at the moment. Although the past two semesters and taking classes remotely has been tough, I am finding more ways to enjoy the little things and keep my physical and mental states healthy. As the Boston weather is warming up, I have been taking walks everyday with my mom (I am staying at home), and these have really helped to clear my mind from the daily stresses of school and life. I am also looking forward to being back on campus in the fall, and even though that is about 5 months away, I am sure that the time will pass by relatively quickly.

How are you staying motivated during this semester?

I am staying motivated this semester simply by not being too harsh on myself celebrating the small wins and achievements. I used to have a habit of being too harsh on myself, and over time, I have realized that this mindset only damages my mental health more than it helps me. By being proud of small achievements, I have maintained a much healthier mindset, which gives me greater motivation.

Write about a personal experience you have had that left you with warm fuzzy feelings. What are you grateful for?

An experience I had before COVID that resonates with me occurred while I was volunteering at the Veterans Affairs Hospital of Boston. One patient who I visited automatically put a smile onto my face. He was so grateful that even a stranger like I cared enough to go and visit him, and simply talk with him, since many of his family members live far away. This experience was unforgettable and helped me realize how important it is to build and maintain relationships with the people around me and also to look out for our elderly. I am grateful for my friends and family who are extremely supportive and always there for me.

Own topic relating to MH (write about an experience)

Growing up in a Chinese household with more traditional values, my parents placed a significant amount of pressure onto me to perform well in school and later excel in my career. However, whenever I did not perform as they expected, it often led to many feelings of guilt and disappointment, and soon, I allowed grades and test scores to define my happiness. My entire life surrounded around performing well in school and doing everything in my power to do well, even if it meant sacrificing my mental or physical health. As a pre-med, I am often surrounded by a toxic culture of sacrificing mental and physical health for grades, but over the past few years, I have learned that my health and mental state are most important. Without both, I am unable to do anything, including pursuing my passions in the medical field. I like to surround myself with people who support me, and over time, my family with more traditional values has adopted a better way of supporting and encouraging me to perform well academically and in terms of my career.

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