In the Fall of 2016, I started putting together application materials to begin my Masters program. I had so much anxiety going into the process and a lot of life changing questions– do I want to continue with the theatre? Am I ready to leave my family and study in another country? The longest I had gone without seeing my family was maybe two months in college.

One day, while working on my materials and going through the motions, “Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright” by Bob Marley just came to mind and I started to hum the song. I stopped working and played the whole song on my phone before I went back to work. This was a song my mom who died of cancer would sing all the time– and in that moment, I felt her and I felt peace. It felt like she was trying to say something, to comfort me. I could hear her telling me I could do it or that I was ready for the next chapter of my life.

I finished my Masters and even went on to enroll in a Ph.D. program. To this day, whenever I feel my anxiety creeping up or whenever I feel myself falling into a dark place, I just sing that song and cry a little. After that, I feel great– a sense of calm and peace just takes over. It is not a magic wand that makes the challenge disappear– however, it provides me with little moments of calm and clarity to solve the problem. (And knowing that it is like my special time with my mother makes it even better.)

– Irene Gasarah (Ph.D. Student)