By Heather Medley
People who exercise gratitude are 25 percent happier according to a study conducted at the University of California at Davis.
Raising my kids to be grateful is important to me. I don’t want to raise selfish, entitled adults.
When I’m around my children I point out what others have done for them–a lot. I remind them to say thank you – It is a “Magic word” after all - and express gratitude in their words and actions. I share stories with them about people who act selflessly, who work hard and who live humbly.
I point out where I’m grateful to them.
And, if someone exercises gratitude with something I’ve done I share with my kids how much their gratitude meant to me.
Positive reinforcements make a difference.
Gratitude increases our happiness, improves our relationships, and makes us healthier.
And it does so reliably. Over 40 research studies have shown the same thing – gratitude rocks.
PRACTICE MAKES GRATEFUL
One year before Christmas when my children were little, I made them practice opening gifts before we went to our "big Chirstmas" with my family. I went and got things from their rooms, things they’ve already owned, things they weren’t grateful for anymore, and I put them in gift bags. I called them all into the living room, sat them down, and handed them each a sparkly bag. When they pulled toys they already owned out of the bag, their heads shot up and their eye brows furrowed. Then I reminded them that they did like their items and we practiced looking happy, saying thank you immediately, saying at least one way that we would use our new gift or why we liked it.
It made a huge difference.
Months before this holiday drill, one of the children had a birthday party and ripped through the gifts so quickly, no one had time to appreciate the gifts, thank the giver – if we even had time to figure out what was from which guest – and certainly no time to express our gratefulness for their presence and present.
I started a hashtag a few years ago that I used as we re-posted social media stories from scholars, who were mostly studying abroad or graduating, reflecting on how they arrived at that point. From the moment of our first Terry Advising sessions during Red Raider Orientation, I begin to stress the character traits we expect to see from scholars at Texas Tech. I often remind them that there is nothing they did or could do to EARN or deserve $120,000 from a stranger. It’s a gift. It’s a blessing.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH IT?
One of my favorite stories to share is that of Payton Manning, first round, 1998 pick from Tennessee. He was the highest paid draft pick of all time. Hindsight says the Indianapolis Colts made the right decision, drafting Manning and signing him to a six-year, $47.7 million contract with an $11.6 million signing bonus. People very quickly started asking him what he was going to do with all of that money. He responded, “Earn it.”
Manning is a first-ballot Hall of Famer after wrapping up an incredible 17-year career. He threw for 54,848 yards and 198 touchdowns while leading the Colts to the playoffs 11 times and the Super Bowl twice -- winning one -- during his 13 years with the franchise. He has been paid more than any other player in NFL history, and it is not even close.
I’d say that he earned it. Tech Terry Scholars will earn it too.
Their stats will include service in student organizations, academic leadership, and investments in the community. As alumni, they will give back and serve the communities in which they live, their alma maters, and the foundation.
Gratitude works when you’re grateful for something real. Feeling euphoric and spending money like you just won the lottery when you didn’t is probably going to make you real poor, real quick. But what are you actually grateful for? It’s a question that could change your life.
Thinking about those things for which we are truly grateful can have an enormous impact. Try one of these to get started:
- Gratitude Journal
At the end of each day, write down – or even just say aloud - a few items for which you are grateful.
I once read a book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann VosKamp, where she catalogs these gifts. They are the ordinary and every day things like “morning shadows across old floors, jam piled high on the toast, cry of blue jay from high in the spruce” (those are numbers 1, 2 and 3 on the list). One Thousand Gifts is about seeing the need for gratitude and then learning to express it not just in spite of life’s trials, but even through them. She refers to this as eucharisteo, a Greek word for thanksgiving.
It is a brilliant and potentially life changing exercise.
Thankfulness feels good, it’s good for you and it’s a blessing for the people around you, too. It’s such a win-win-win that I’d say we have cause for gratitude.
by Heather Medley
It can be such an awkward dilemma to know how to address someone on campus. Dr.? Professor? Instructor? First name or both names? I hired a student assistant once, who had been my student when I taught high school English and journalism. She couldn’t bring herself to call me “Heather”, but she knew that the others in the office would give her a hard time if she continued to call me, “Mrs. Medley,” the name she knew me by when we first met. For YEARS she just called me “Boss.” I didn’t feel like a boss. I hoped we were a team. Most of the time she didn’t call me anything and would just launch into her story or question…
I’ve had a few names throughout the years. Changing my name after getting married was tough for me. I actually made my maiden name legally my middle name. I guess we get used to our names or being named by a particular aspect of ourselves. “Oh, you’re the Terry Lady!” is one that I hear frequently these days, in addition to the “Girl Scout leader” or my kids’ mom... you get the picture.
On Being a Mom
Being a mom is a role I’m extremely proud of and it’s a huge part of my identity. I have quite a few children and I’m very active in their lives and – as you can imagine, in the lives of their friends.
It first begins when you're pregnant, the doctor and staff start referring to you as mom. So at first it's disorienting. Someone has put you in a role you don't have experience in, and is talking to you like you're in charge. And that's because you are.
Then of course the baby is born, and everyone in the universe starts calling you mom. At this point it's a Fact, and you're exhausted, and it's overwhelming, but there are things to do now. It's like Day 1 of your new job, that lasts the rest of your life and no one has trained you properly for, and you're supposed to just ask if you have questions.
The first time they smile at you and thereafter, every time their face lights up when they see you, it's exactly the same as them calling you mom. The next major milestone is when the baby is old enough to actually call you mom. It evokes a sense of awe and responsibility and frankly giggly joy -- emotions are contagious, and a happy baby just POURS happiness all over everyone nearby.
A few years ago, I once again that someone had put me in a role I didn't have experience in, and is they were talking to me like I was in charge. And that's because I am.
Many new Terry’s ask me, “What do I call you?” and I typically answer with a list of options, followed with “it doesn’t really matter.” Titles don’t matter to me a whole lot. I have one though that gets me every time I hear it. It really started with a group of transfer students that started jokingly calling me “Mama Medley.” I assumed it was because I meddled too much, asking lots of questions, and giving lots of advice.
Apparently, there are lists of reasons people call you mom and all the cool kids are calling their favorite celebs, “Mom” these days according to BuzzFeed.
I could write a long creed on this and wax poetic, but really, I just want to say it feels good. It feels really, really good.
In a bizarre time in a student’s life, I’m happy to play a role as the Terry Mom, to help when it’s needed. In the document, “The Terry Foundation University Responsibilities,” the first section on the 3 page list is Family Environment and Student Organization with the first item charging the campus coordinator to “Foster a family environment for Terry Scholars on campus” and is followed by a bullet point list of ways to execute this charge.
I probably take the “Terry Family” thing to an extreme. I keep tissues in my office for the big things. I have a strict no crying by yourself policy. I’m always ready to rejoice with students over the seemingly small things too. I get protective and offended, proud as a peacock, and mad-sad for them and with them.
With parents geographically separated from their children, some by a few blocks and some by many hours, I’m happy to be a voice of reason, a safe place to fall, a shoulder to cry on.
Yesterday I took a scholar to lunch on her birthday. Today, I told one which dress shoes to wear. I’ve helped plan engagements. Took one home to my house from the surgery center for recovery one summer. Knocked on dorm doors to check on them when they’re sick. Answered, “What if?” a million times. Talked through budding relationships and break ups, professor issues and roommate drama. I was even honored to stand in as the mother-of-the-groom at a wedding (I love me some Terry weddings).
It is, of course, necessary to play the part effectively and within parameters. If my children called someone else mom, it might bother me. But the more that I think about it, I hope that I would be thrilled that someone else treated my children in a way that inspired that kind of relationship. With ages from 14-7, they have had quite a few amazing role models. As a matter of fact, one of my kids called a teacher, “mom,” by accident and her sons started calling him their brother! It’s a hoot. She even let him host his 14th birthday party at her barn.
I just hung up with a scholar who graduated our program two years ago. He makes me laugh. Even though he is a second year Medical School student, I still remember the first time I met him over grilled cheese sandwiches and when we was voted the Graduate Vice President of SGA and the guy who felt the extreme responsibility of serving on his first Terry interview panel. He's still "one of mine." Always will be.
Right now, I’m getting play-by-play texts from a scholar who is road tripping for a week full of interviews for his first “real” job after graduate school and I’m just so excited for him. I just wish it was closer to “home.”
Dale Carnegie said, "There is no sweeter sound to any person’s ear than the sound of their own name…" I whole heartedly disagree.
Never before filmed, senior speeches are a right of passage for Terry Scholars
Guess how many people announce engagements?
Name the number of folks who teared up.
Who will get the award this year for moving the farthest away? It's not Jordan Shelton anymore.
by Callie Hawkins
After returning home from my Texas Tech Terry Foundation Scholarship interview, I tried my best to avoid all concerns and thoughts about the scholarship. I knew the decision was no longer in my hands, and that I shouldn't waste time worrying about it. I succeeded in this until Monday evening when one of my classmates, and two of my friends all informed me of the emails they had received stating that they did not receive the scholarship. I instantly turned into a nervous wreck! I spent the remainder of the day checking my email at an unnecessarily quick rate. I hardly slept, and made sure my phone would ring as loud as possible anytime I received an email. Unfortunately, this tactic only resulted in an emotional roller coaster every time I received an email notifying me of a new Tweet, or a Facebook friend's birthday.
In my Tuesday morning slumber, I had all but forgotten about the email. I was bent over blow drying my hair, all the blood rushing to my head, when I suddenly jerked upright in response to the obnoxiously loud ringing of my phone! I couldn't even see the screen; I was seeing stars! I then saw the email, and was so filled with fear I could barely bring myself to open it. I finally did, and had no words. Really, I was speechless! I ran to my mom's bedroom and startled her by yelling incoherent noises as I threw my phone into her hands. At some point I finally managed to say, "I got it". Overwhelmed, my mom burst into tears. I quickly reassured her through my enormous grin that she shouldn't be crying, she would ruin all of the make up she had just finished applying! We then called my dad, who sent back an automatic text message response saying he was in a meeting and couldn't talk. I called again anyway, he quietly answered, and was greeted by joyous squeals saying that I had received the Terry Scholarship! My dad yelled how proud he was, and announced my accomplishment to everyone in his 8:00am meeting. We spent the rest of our day sharing news of the immense blessing that had just placed in our lives.
by Ryan Earp
I was getting ready for athletics in the morning, and I checked my phone about 20 minutes before the workout started and I saw an email from the Terry Foundation. I felt my heart start pounding and I sat there for 5 minutes before I built up enough courage to click on the link. When I clicked on the attachment I saw the word Congratulations and I felt a wave of relief and excitement rush over me! i immediately went outside to call my mom and she was ecstatic. The rest of the day it felt like I was walking on air from excitement! It will be a day I will remember forever.
by Megan Crawford
Eleven days. Eleven days between the interview in Dallas and the day I got my Terry e-mail. It came so much earlier than I had expected. I had Friday marked on my calendar, not that Tuesday. I had not mentally prepared myself to receive a yes or a no.
I was far away from home the day I found out. I tossed and turned in the hotel bed, trying hard not to wake any of my fellow student council officers that were there with me for the conference. In just two hours we were going to get up to head back home to Wall, TX. As I laid restless, my phone vibrated on the table next to the bed. Immediately, I thought my mom was texting me "Good morning!" as she always does when I am away. It wasn't my mom though, it was an email, from the Terry Foundation. That's all I could see on the screen. At that moment I panicked. I was very unprepared to read about my future. I remember running to the restroom in the room and shutting the door, because either way I was going to cry. I placed my phone on the counter and clicked the e-mail. I'm pretty sure I forgot how to read, because I had to re-read the 'please see attached' statement about 5 times before I scrolled down to see the attached. There is was. The word "Congratulations!" said it all. I read it over and over again to make sure it wouldn't disappear. Then the tears came, and at that time I knew it was time to call my mom. She answered and immediately assumed something was wrong. I remember telling her to "Guess what?" , and I think at that point she figured it out.
If you would have told 8-year-old me that there is a way to pay for my dream, of being a Red Raider, I might have thought you were crazy. I always had a dream to go to Texas Tech at a very young age, and that probably terrified my mother, because she knew I wasn't going to give up on it. Financially, I had no idea how we'd ever be able to afford it, but I always told my mom, "God and I have this." I started early and knew every AP class, every community service project, every extra curricular activity, and every job would bring me closer to another scholarship. The prayers to God also brought me a giant blessing.
To say that the Terry Foundation is an answer to my prayers would be an understatement. It's beyond what I asked God for. The Terry Letter made my dreams a reality, and I'll never forget the day it changed my life.
by Kaleigh Jackson
I had become friends with a few people who had interviewed with me, so we often texted back and forth about how nervous we were to click the pdf file that would be attached to our emails shortly. One day as I was sitting in Pre-Calculus taking notes on trig (ouch, trig was NOT my favorite), I felt my phone vibrate and went to check it. "Did you get it??" was all the text read and immediately my heart began to race. I pulled out my computer and checked the email I had given the foundation--nothing. I checked my regularly used email address for college things--nothing. I even checked my high school email and the email I used for junk coupon mail and still turned up with nothing!
Something had to be wrong. Did they forget me? I was quite sure that they had forgotten to send me my email, and I was on edge. About an hour later I was placed into a group text message with four other of the students I interviewed with and they ALL had gotten their emails--except none of them received the scholarship. All I could do was hope that there was some correlation to be had in the fact that I had not yet seen an email pop up in my inbox (but you can bet I checked every five minutes that night while I neglected my homework and routine sleeping schedule).
The next morning, anxious and sleep-deprived, I went to pick up a younger student I drove to school everyday. On the way, I talked to her about how stressed out I was to get my email and that my life could potentially be changed forever via one line on a pdf document found in an email.
"Your whole life is changed Kaleigh, this is such a blessing," he managed choke out between tears, "I am so proud if you!"
Upon arrival to school, I grabbed my laptop and immediately connected to the wifi. I began to check my email as I walked to the band hall to grab my instrument for rehearsal. *ding!* There was an email sitting in my inbox from the Terry Foundation waiting patiently to be opened. My hands started to shake and my whole body went cold. EN, the girl I drove to school noticed my change in behavior and asked "Did you get it??" To which I replied that I hadn't even opened it yet; I was too nervous. When we got into the band hall, amidst the swarm of kids running around putting their instruments together and yelling to their friends that they had forgotten to finish their geometry homework, time slowed down for me as I clicked the pdf document in the email. The only word I needed to see was "Congratulations!" before I was on my face praying to God and thanking Him for such a blessing. I started crying and before I knew it the entire band knew that I was a Terry Scholar! My band director made his way over to me to let me know how proud of me he was, and that he knew I would get the scholarship. I called my mom and told her and she just began to cry. She's a teacher and so in that instant her entire class knew the good news that had been received that morning. I called my dad and he had no words--only tears of joy and thankfulness to God. "Your whole life is changed Kaleigh, this is such a blessing," he managed choke out between tears, "I am so proud if you!"
The morning that I received my Terry Letter will be a day I will never forget and will never stop being thankful for.
by Gabriela Garcia
I was at home trying to video tape my final presentation for my British Literature class, when my phone buzzed, signaling the arrival of an email. However, it had been the third time trying to get the presentation 'just right' and under three minutes, but I was completely frustrated with myself because I continued to fumble my words and I kept going over three minutes. I decided 'you know what, let me just check my email.' I saw that the email title read "The Terry Foundation" and I froze. After a couple seconds, I simultaneously clicked the email and I closed my eyes, because I wanted to know, but I was scared. When I finally opened my eyes the email read "Please see the attached results..." and I felt my nerves plummet and then heighten again. As a result, I did the same thing, I clicked the attachment and I closed my eyes. When I opened them, I read the first line and I could not believe it. I remember re reading the first line over and over until I made my self believe it. Then I composed myself just enough to run to my mom's room where I yelled, "me dieron la beca!" (I received the scholarship). Then my mom and I screamed with excitement as tears overflowed from both our eyes. It was truly a life changing moment, and I cannot wait to see what comes next!
by Rafe Royall
It was Monday April 11th, 2016, the day I was supposed to receive an email from the Terry Foundation telling me if I had received the scholarship. I didn’t sleep a wink that night because I was so nervous, and that just continued at school. I was more jittery that day than I can ever remember being, it got to the point where I couldn’t pay attention during class and I was checking my email every five minutes. Then at around two o’clock that afternoon two of my best friends who had interviewed for the Terry Scholarship at Texas A&M received their emails telling them that they had not gotten the scholarship. And just like that my anxiety went through the roof, I eventually went to bed still without getting my email.
After the second sleepless night in a row I went to school and it went exactly like the day before. I was checking my email every two minutes, and I was starting to think something was very wrong. I checked my scholarship application to make sure I had put down the right email address; I called yahoo tech support to make sure there weren’t any problems with my email account. By time lunch came around I was a complete basket case, I couldn’t even eat I was so nervous. Then at about 1:30 that afternoon I opened my email to the most amazing sight I had ever seen, my Terry letter!
My eyes started to water up, the air flew out of my lungs, my hands covered my face, and I could not say a single word. I turned around to my best friend who was sitting behind me, uncovered my face and mouthed, “I got it!” but no words came out! So he took my computer, took one look at the screen and immediately yelled at the top of his lungs, so before I could even say a word everyone in class knew I had gotten the scholarship! As soon as I could get out of the pile of people I walked outside and called my parents. Mom screamed so loud that she about blew my ear off!
Now, I have had thousands of people cheering for me. I have run the football in for a touchdown to win a district championship, I have done things that I never could have in my wildest dreams, but none of them compared to the feeling I had at that moment!
by Stephen Perry
One of my life goals is and has been since I was in Junior High was to graduate from Texas Tech. I, like many others, have taken an unconventional path to that goal, and because of that I now find myself in a position to give a few pointers.
The first of which is that I made one of the best mistakes ever by not going straight into college from High School. For me, and probably many others out there, I wanted to both experience the world and go to college. Not that it is impossible to do both simultaneously but I think I would have fallen in love with the idea of traveling if I did it during college and dropped out. Instead, I joined the military and gained countless experiences that helped shaped me into the person I am today.
Another nugget of wisdom I wish I knew before coming back to college is what exactly the “Terry Family” really is. I have a family of my own, and as a non-traditional student I immediately said to myself “Self,” (cause that’s how we all do it, right?) “you don’t have time or a need for the Terry Family, I mean I’m sure they are great and all but…” BIG MISTAKE! The Terry Family is more than just a bunch of people getting together for some meetings and saying the superficial “Hello” or “How are you?” It is a group of people who genuinely care for each other and are ALWAYS happy to help you with anything. Coming from the military I have a relatively jaded view of the people/world we live in, and of course any group with have those people but the Terry’s are exceptionally awesome! I have only been in school for a semester now and I can tell you already that I will keep in touch with more Terry’s than I will any other group.
To sum it up into a few words I’ll close with this; When you hear “get involved” don’t look for a reason to not dive in headfirst with the Terry Family. That is a mistake, especially for my fellow transfers. Despite having experienced a little bit more of life outside the comfort of home, the one thing you should have learned by now is that the people in your dugout is what makes the difference between a losing team and a championship team.