A message of hope for T-Bird Nation

My beloved T-Birds,

Welcome back. It is my hope that you all had an amazing winter break and are feeling reenergized for another exciting semester here at SUU.

Hope has been on my mind a lot lately. My preferred definition of the word is, “to cherish a desire with anticipation.” When I hope for something to happen, I trust that my desired outcome will occur if I put in the requisite effort.

I love the Spring semester because it is full of hope. Those who are set to graduate eagerly look toward April and the next steps in their professional lives, while underclassmen feel the exhilarating pull of being one semester closer to the finish line. Even nature sings of hope, as the Spring is the natural time of rebirth and renewal.

Hope motivates us to keep going, especially when things get hard. The hope of providing a better life for my kids is what motivated me to go back to school to earn my Ph.D. The hope of dunking a basketball again is why I go to the gym every day. And the hope of seeing my students become more successful than I ever was is why I work to become a better teacher and mentor.

Lately, our campus and our community has had multiple unfortunate opportunities to witness what can tragically occur to those who view their lives as hopeless. In just the past two months, the SUU and Cedar City communities have lost some who were friends, classmates, teammates, and family to hopelessness. It’s difficult to imagine how they felt or what caused them to feel that way, but my message to you this semester is that there is always hope. Even in the darkest hour of your worst day, there is hope.

President Mindy Benson recently stated in an email, “The first week of the new year has been a heavy one for our campus and community. We recognize that you may feel overwhelmed and may be dealing with personal challenges and stresses. Please take care of yourself. Whether that is pausing for a break, reaching out to a friend, or talking with a mental health professional. Your health and wellness are a top priority.”

A few years ago, I wrote about my own mental health struggles in a letter for the University Journal. I briefly mentioned my confrontations with anxiety and depression and how I was able to regain hope in my life. After the letter was published, I heard from dozens of students who were struggling with their mental health, all who were able to get the help they needed and regain hope in their lives thanks in part due to the resources available through the university.

Our community has amazing mental health resources. Every student should be aware of CAPS and how to schedule an appointment. Every faculty, administrator, or staff can find the help they need through The Life Connection Program or at one of Cedar City’s growing list of mental healthcare providers (and a lot of them accept UMR).

A popular quote states, “We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.”

T-Bird Nation, as we all start this year a little broken, know that the light of hope can improve your lives, strengthen your resolve, and help you find the peace that you seek. If you are struggling, ask for help. If not, be the light for those around you.

As President Benson said, “We are resilient and we are here for each other.”


With Love,

Dr. Hayden Coombs
Assistant Professor of Communication
EVT 213 J


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