Name: Mara Chaben
Major: International Studies concentrating in Political and Economic Development, Minor in Entrepreneurship
Graduation Year: 2017
Hometown: Farmington Hills, MI
Fun Fact: Mary Kate and Ashley babysat me one time.
Her Campus: Favorite show?
Mara Chaben: I actually don't watch any TV! You can find me listening to music or reading a book instead.
HC: Dream date?
MC: Anything adventurous.
HC: What are you involved in on campus?
MC: The majority of my involvement on campus is in Kol HaKavod - U of M's premier Jewish A Cappella group. Singing is my passion and I have a blast rehearsing, performing, and hanging out with the 13 other Kol Kids on campus. The group has definitely been the most impactful experience on my college journey so far. I'm also in Chi Omega and the Barger Leadership Institute.
HC: How has being a college kid with cancer changed you?
MC: Most importantly, my perspective on school and what is really important has taken a 360. I realized there is no point in wasting even one minute on something I don't have a passion for. Do what you want to do. My favorite quote is: "The way we live our days is the way we live our lives."
I also had to learn very quickly to be flexible. It's difficult to plan what I'll be doing everyday because I never know if I'm going to be feeling well or not. The only way for me to be successful is to roll with the punches everyday. No longer does ambiguity make me anxious - I just have to wake up everyday, deal with what is thrown my way, and really do what's best for me in that moment.
HC: Can you speak about the article you recently wrote?
MC: I wrote the article in hopes of reaching other young adults struggling with cancer who could possibly relate to my story and not feel so isolated. I also wanted to provide an outlook to readers who might not have cancer on how to positively deal with adversity in general. It was important to me to tell the story exactly how I felt - raw and open. Most of the writing actually came straight from my journal.
Also, it feels good to get a little glimpse of my story out there because I've realized some people are almost scared to ask me questions or talk about the "C" word, when in reality, I don't mind speaking about it.
HC: If you could tell your freshman year self something, what would it be?
MC: Keep doing you.
HC: What is your message to other students who are struggling with any type of personal obstacle?
MC: It is imperative to accept that life is never a constant. There are going to be some awesome days and there are going to be some really, really shitty days. Underneath every struggle, there is beauty and strength so if you can just hang tight in the low times and be really present in those amazing ones, you will be much better off.
If you want to read Mara’s article, here is where to check it out: http://www.weighsyoudown.com/weighed-down-series/fighting-cancer-in-college