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7 Things I’m Thankful for This Holiday Season

It’s finally the holiday this season. An overarching theme of the holidays is celebrating what we’re thankful for. It may be hard to focus on the true meaning of the holiday when you have turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and all the amazing desserts to shove in your face (a home-cooked feast hits different for college kids who eat McDonald’s once a week minimum) but these couple months start a time where we look back and reflect on the year we’ve had so far. We should start to count our blessings and take a step back to look at all the little things we take for granted. It’s tough remembering all the little things when there are so many changes happening in our lives. Here are some of the main things that have made my year just that much better.

  • Family

I’ve had a pretty rough month mentally if I’m being honest. We ended up putting my childhood dog down after fifteen years of having her, and it’s been super hard on all of us. We lost a member of our family, but it’s making us truly appreciate still having each other in our lives. We’re sad about the member we lost, but we’re happy to still have more that are all there for each other in tough times. Thinking about and talking to my little sister has also been super important to me. She’s at that age where she’s a little kid, but she’s almost not. I remember when she was born and seeing how far she’s come and grown since then is insane. I love watching her bloom into the person she is today and knowing that I helped her along the journey of some of the most important years of her life.

  • Friends

I’m absolutely grateful and have love for each and every person who has crossed my path in college. I’ve had the best core group of friends throughout college. They’re basically my second family; my home away from home. It’s really nice having a support system when you go through the ups and downs of school. They’re people who know what you’re going through and they’re with you through every step of the way, even if it’s hard. I’m super excited to have a Friendsgiving this year. (I highly recommend having a potluck where everyone brings one dish and watching the Thanksgiving Friends and New Girl episodes if football isn’t your thing).

  • Relationship

It’s also crazy that I have a boyfriend in my life who lifts me up and is there for me no matter what. We started out as friends for like two years and it evolved into something great that we both didn’t think was possible. There are so many relationships that are toxic and full of red flags, but it’s the best knowing that I don’t have to worry about us being those people. We’ve both had our bad experiences with relationships, and I think that’s made us both grow into the people we are today and we keep each other in check.

  • Job

Finding a new job this summer was really nerve-wracking. Before this summer, I’d only had one job since I was probably 16 that I had stayed at for years. I had also never gotten a job in college. It was tough managing stress from work and school for the first time since I had only had a summer job before, but once I got the hang of it, I feel way better financially. Worrying about money in college is one of the worst feelings in the world. I’ve never been much of a spender, but it’s nice having that security. I signed for a new apartment yesterday for the next school year and our rent absolutely skyrocketed, BUT I know it’s not something I’ll have to stress about paying due to my job. My job has also led me to fall into new leadership positions and promotions which I also couldn’t be more grateful for.

  • Education

This is probably one of the most overlooked things we take for granted. There are a lot of people out there our age and older who don’t continue their education for many reasons whether it’s because of money or having to stay home to take care of family, etc. The fact that we’re representing a new era and generation of education is amazing. We get to show our true potential to the older generations and hopefully pass on our knowledge and abilities to our kids and grandkids. A lot of people don’t get to experience walking to the dining hall in the cold snow or going to lecture halls and getting taught by people with doctorates. We complain a lot about small things like this and we don’t realize that the whole experience we live through every day is truly a privilege that we should acknowledge and cherish.

  • Home

Having a roof over your head and having a place to call your own is also something that is definitely overlooked and not shown enough gratitude. We see homeless people all the time and we don’t think twice about it. Sometimes people even scoff at them or think they deserve to be in that position. I think it’s terrible, I couldn’t imagine not having my own place. I have so many places I can call home. Where my parents live, my apartment and my friend’s apartments are all places that I consider home. Having so many places I can go to in times of need is important and something that I try not to overlook anymore. Life can change so fast and we could end up way less fortunate than we are now one day, so this is one that I’ve really learned to pay attention to being thankful for.

  • Food

I saved this one for last because we eat so much food this time of year, it is a true feast, but we don’t think about how many families out there get to indulge in a huge variety of foods at this time of the year. Even at Christmas too, there’s always talk of gaining holiday weight. There are a lot of families out there though that don’t get to do this. America is one of the most wasteful countries in the world and we don’t realize that. I’ve tried to be really mindful lately of not overindulging in food or letting food go to waste and expire because I know that a lot of people don’t get to even have enough food for themselves due to money or lack of resources. I’ve also started giving away the extra food that I get from work to homeless people. It really changes and turns a person’s whole day around.

It can be hard to be thankful and grateful when there’s so much happening in our lives. It’s important to take time to reflect and see how many things in our lives are truly great and worth appreciating, especially around the holidays. Even when the holidays pass, it’s still important to try and really give back to the things that make our lives what they are.

Bella Sibenaller

Illinois State '23

Hi, my name is Bella and I'm a junior here at Illinois State. I'm a psychology major, but I'm also going into nursing. At ISU, I am also apart of the National Society for Leadership and Success and currently serve as the social chair. My hometown is Charleston, Illinois. It's a super small town south of ISU. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and Facetiming my eight year old sister. If you have any questions about Her Campus or any of the other organizations I'm involved in, please reach out! My Instagram is @bellajsib.
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