This was originally posted on Around the Grove, the student blog of the Universities at Shady Grove on November 25, 2016.
This Thanksgiving has been a real wake-up call for me personally. This is the busiest time of the year, especially for us students. It’s the end-of-the-semester crunch time: papers, tests, presentations, internship applications and spring semester registration are all in this month’s forecast. (Not to mention figuring out Black Friday shopping lists!) Oftentimes Thanksgiving break can turn into a chance to catch up on homework instead of an opportunity to reflect on life, practice gratitude, and spend time with family.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a couple of reminders of how selfish I tend to be. The arrival of Thanksgiving has made me stop and realize how much I already have to be thankful for. I’ve realized that I need to incorporate thankfulness into my life all the time, not just one week of the year, which is a great reminder as we head into a season where it’s easy to get wrapped up dwelling on what new shiny presents we want.
Lately, I’ve also been realizing how much I’ve come to take school for granted. During my first semester at USG, I started to recognize how blessed I was to have the chance to get an education. For the first three years of my college experience, I tended to take my education for granted because practically everyone took going to college for granted. We complained about classes all the time and counted down the days until the next break.
At USG, I encountered people who were the first people in their family to go to college, who were working full-time and going to school, or who were raising a family while taking classes. These people’s incredible dedication and hard work inspired me to work harder in my classes and to be thankful for the opportunity to go to college, something many people don’t have the chance to do.
This semester, I’ve lost sight of that gratefulness in the midst of all the stress, and I’ve come to resent being “stuck” in school again. During this time of year its especially easy to complain about confusing assignments and crammed schedules, but I hope you and I both this can use this Thanksgiving as a reminder to take a step back and consider we have to be thankful for. And to put a pause on the complaining and be grateful for the opportunity to learn.
Lastly, I just want to say how much I appreciate the Universities at Shady Grove for giving even more people access to education. I appreciate the hard-working, dedicated staff and students at this institution and who work so hard to pursue knowledge and effect change in their corner of the universe. I’m personally grateful to USG for giving me access so many amazing opportunities (like being a blogger here on Around the Grove.) And I’m thankful for the wonderful staff who have reached out to help me succeed and have the best experience possible here.