Throw It Away Thursday promotes counseling services, spreads positivity
Detroit graduate student Margerae Jackson is on a mission to spread positivity with crafts, inspirational quotes and a tastefully decorated trash can.
Jackson, the Counseling Center’s first-ever graduate assistant, was tasked with creating a new form of outreach for the center’s services.
She remembered a project a counselor she knew, Monique Harris, started in Texas schools: Harris told students to write down any negative thoughts, throw the paper they wrote on in the trash and pick up new, positive quotes instead.
Jackson decided to adopt the cognitive behavioral therapy-inspired idea at Central Michigan University, too.
Jackson officially started Throw It Away Thursday Sept. 13. Jackson’s current plan is to rotate her table every week at the Towers, Student Activity Center, Bovee University Center and Charles V. Park Library.
Even this early into her project, Jackson has been surprised at how students say it has benefited them. She thought students would simply drop by, throw away their negative thoughts, pick up new thoughts, say thank you and leave.
Instead, Jackson has seen students' faces light up with big smiles. Students have passionately thanked her and told her how much the quotes have helped them when they have stopped by at later Throw It Away Thursdays.
Hale freshman Tyler Ranger found encouragement when he stopped by a Throw It Away Thursday near the beginning of the semester. Ranger said he was having a “rough” time and he put the quote up on his wall alongside several sticky notes he made to encourage himself.
The quote — “There’s beauty in every tear you cry” — has helped him feel better in the midst of his stress as a music major taking nine classes.
“It gives me a chance to readjust my thinking patterns,” Ranger said.
Jackson’s quote choices change every week and are based off what she thinks would have helped her when she was an undergraduate student.
“I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses,” reads one quote.
For Jackson, this means she can use life's difficulties as a challenge to expand to a better version of herself.
South Lyon sophomore Zayne George chose the quote, “If I want to be loved as I am, I have to be willing to love others as they are.”
George chose the quote because her boyfriend struggles with anxiety and depression, something that can create difficulties within their relationship. The quote served as a reminder for George to be patient and understanding.
“I can be difficult to love, too,” she said.
George said she’s interested in going to the counseling center’s art and creativity drop-in sessions after her experience making the bookmark.
The center has seen an increased number of students seek out services this semester, although Jackson and Associate Director Michelle Bigard can’t be sure how much of the increase is related to Throw It Away Thursday.
However, Jackson did see a higher-than-average number of students come in to inquire about Counseling Center services in the hours following the first Throw It Away Thursday.
Whatever is causing the increase, Jackson and Bigard are glad to see more students seeking the help they need.
“The main focus is making sure their needs are met,” Bigard said.