12 Things to be Grateful for in College

College is often recognized as the best four years of your life. And there’s no denying it… between living with your best friends, having all the free time to do what you want, taking on exciting, new opportunities and discovering your passions, the world is your oyster. Although it’s normal to have stressful days of work and classes, there are so many other things to be grateful for that make up for all the long papers and tedious assignments. I realize this more now as a current senior at Fordham University looking back nostalgically on these past three years. There is so much to appreciate during your time in college that you can’t get back later in life. So enjoy it while it lasts, and don’t forget to appreciate and be grateful for everything college has to offer. Listed below are some of the best parts worth cherishing:

1. Friends

If your roommate situation worked out well, you know that living with your best friends is one of the greatest parts about college. When you’re constantly surrounded by friends who are supportive and care for each other, you tend to create bonds that last long after graduation. They’re your second family that you can count on for basically anything. Whether it’s giving you advice or partaking in your late night adventures, you don’t know where you’d be without them. Your friends are what make college your “home away from home.” With all of your closest friends in close proximity, you’ll be sure to have separation anxiety issues after graduation.

2. Education

As stressful as it can be, it’s important to remember how lucky you are to be receiving a college education. College opens up a world of new ideas and perspectives, helping students to think more broadly and creatively. It exposes you to possibilities you may have never considered, enabling you to reflect deeply and connect with those who are different from you. It’s the time when you’re supposed to learn as much as you can about the world, discover your passions and talents, and grow as a person. A college degree provides you with the necessary skills and expertise to lead you in the right direction that will help you land your dream job.

3. Good Professors

A good education is achieved through the help of good professors. Although they are many types professors out there, everyone has their favorites. And there are only a select few that truly care about you and your success as a student. These professors strive to teach you something valuable and take the time to explain something when you have trouble understanding. These are the professors whose lessons stay with us and forever leave an impact in our lives.

4. Independence

College is the first time we’re away from home and we’re off living according to our own rules. There are no more parental curfews and sweatpants are acceptable pretty much every day. You’re free to do what you want, eat what you want, and act how you want. It’s all part of the “adulting” process. It can be a recipe for disaster or success… but it’s up to you to decide how you want to live your life!

5. Free Gym Membership

With a free gym open for the majority of the day, there’s no excuse to gain the “freshman 15.” The classes offered at the gym are also free, so this is a great opportunity to try something new like Pilates, Kickboxing, Zumba or Spinning. Working out in college is a healthy way to relieve stress and clear the mind. Health is something that should never be taken for granted, therefore it’s important to utilize any opportunity (especially when it’s free) that can better improve your wellbeing.

6. Coffee

Coffee is a college student’s best friend. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for when you’ve hit a wall while studying and gives you the energy you need when you don’t have time to nap. Not only does it supply you with caffeine you need for a late night out, it’s also one of the best hangover cures. Without it, life would be difficult and we just wouldn’t get enough done.

7. A Beautiful Campus

The scenic view of campus from your dorm/apartment provides the perfect backdrop for when you’re studying. If you happen to live on a beautiful campus like me, you still find yourself snapping pictures on your way to class. As you take in the scenery during your walk, you realize how grateful you are for living on such a fine-looking campus. I feel especially thankful for being able to live on Fordham University’s lovely campus grounds, where the traditional gothic architecture, cobblestone pathways and sight of Keating never gets old. No matter what season it is, the campus never loses its charm.

8. Holiday/Seasonal Breaks

We all need a break sometimes. And right as we’re about to crash from exhaustion after finals, winter break comes just in time to rescue us. College is the last time in your life where you’ll be able to “take a break” from work and routine. Although jobs offer vacation days, the breaks are limited and aren’t given on a seasonal basis. In fact, some offices stay open on holidays, so it’s important to cherish your days off now while you still can. One of the best parts about coming home for break is having your family make a fuss over you. Not to mention all of the home-cooked meals you’ve been looking forward to… that’s definitely something to be grateful for.

9. Snow Days

College is also the last time when you’ll be able to have snow days. There’s nothing better than receiving an email from the University the night before alerting students that classes are canceled. The next thing you know, someone throws a party and you’re calling up all your friends. Not only is it nice to have classes canceled, but also sleeping in and waking up to find campus transformed into a winter wonderland.

10. Care Packages

It’s the little things like care packages from Mom that make life in college all the better. Whether it’s a special holiday (like candies sent on Halloween) your birthday, or you’re sick with a cold, your Mom/Dad knows just what to send up when you need it. You’re living on a budget in college, but Mom and Dad make sure to supply you with all the essentials. Receiving packages in the mail from family or friends can turn your day around and makes us grateful to know that someone was thinking of us.  

11. Freedom

In college, there’s no such thing as an eight-hour workday. You get to make your own class schedule according to what classes interest you and which times work best for you. Personally, I have never been a morning person, and so I made sure that I would never have to take a class before 10 a.m. in college - which worked out great! However, I’ve learned that time is valuable in college, and we must use it to our advantage. Although we have more time off, the workload catches up to you quickly. It’s important to give yourself breaks like catching up with friends, going to the gym, and grabbing a bite at the caf, but schoolwork is definitely a priority. A word of advice: never leave a 10-page paper for the night before.

12. Opportunity

There are so many opportunities in college. Between choosing what field of study we wish to pursue, deciding which clubs and organizations to join, applying for internships and networking with professionals, the opportunities are endless. Career fairs are a great way to meet professionals in your field of interest that can help us down the road when applying for jobs. By studying abroad, students have the opportunity to travel to a foreign country and take in a new culture. College is the time to take chances, meet new people and to put yourself out of your comfort zone. The more opportunities we take, the more experienced and knowledgeable we will be. So make sure to appreciate and take hold of all the unique opportunities available to you now as a college student!  

Just when you’ve had enough of all the work, studying and endless papers, don’t forget be grateful for having Thanksgiving break come just in time to the rescue. Rejuvenating you with all the food and sleep you need, you’ll come back to campus full of energy and ready to tackle down finals!