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Sincere Thanks: 8 Messages of Gratitude for Those Who Have Impacted Me This Year

As I conclude the first year of my college experience, I’m feeling quite stressed but also grateful to have been given such an opportunity to be here and further my education. As a result, I thought it was only fitting that I thank all of those who helped me to get to this moment in my life.


Although I cannot thank everyone in my life who has had such an impact on me, I want you to know that at some point in my life, if we’ve met, you probably changed my life in some small way, and, for that, I’m forever grateful. This list may be long––it may not be interesting to those of you who don’t know me or these people––but I think it’s so, so important to give credit where it’s due.


So, without further ado, thank you.


1. Mom & Dad

You two are my rocks. I’m so thankful that you guys have paved the way for me and given me the ability to even get to this point in my life. I greatly appreciate all of the lessons you’ve taught me and the work ethic you’ve instilled in me. You have prepared me for life more than you could ever know, and I have no doubt that I would be on a completely different path had you raised me any differently.


During the past year, you both have been so supportive of me and all of the challenges I’ve gone through. Mom, I want to specifically thank you for all of your help with my chemistry homework––I have no doubt that my grade would be much worse without you. Dad, thank you for always checking up on my car. I know it's been hard to have me away from home for the first time, but I appreciate that this is the way you express your love and portray how important it is to you that I’m safe. I could never say or write enough to make you understand how thankful I am, but I just hope you know that there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not grateful for everything you’ve helped me with and done for me. I love you both so much and am excited for our summer together.


2. Brandon Strohbehn

Brandon, you’ve been a bit distant this year for obvious reasons, but I love that whenever I come home it's like I never left. Our dynamic is always the same, and we can always pick up right where we left off. I’m sure you’re glad I’m coming back so you don’t have to do as many chores, but I honestly don’t mind them all that much. Even though neither of us would ever admit it, we really were the best of friends growing up, and I always know you’ll be my built-in friend. I’m so excited to see where your life goes and what paths you decide to take.


3. Nick Pieper

Nick, the last year has been hard, but there is no one else I’d rather do life with. It hasn’t always been easy, but being with you for a few weekends each semester makes it so worth it. Even when we don’t get to see each other for very long, I always get excited to simply see you because I know whenever I’m with you, that’s all I need. Facetiming each night makes even the worst of days better. I’m so thankful that this summer we finally won’t have to be separated by 200 miles (now only 20 miles instead). Thank you for supporting me in my education and helping me pursue my dreams. I can’t wait to do the same for you soon––your dreams are my dreams. And above all, always remember that I love you the most.


4. Pieper-Ward Family

Thank you so much for being my built-in family for the past few years. I’m so thankful that from the moment you met me, you welcomed me into your home like one of your own. Each weekend I come home, I look forward to seeing all of you, too, not just Nick. Thank you for feeding me, nurturing me, and, most of all, loving me. I’m excited to be reunited this summer and I’m so thankful to continue to be a part of your family.


5. Angie Miller

Ms. Miller (or should I say Mrs. Winter!), I’m so thankful for all of your help this semester. You have so much on your plate, yet you’ve always made time to help me with my papers. I’m so excited for all of the experiences you’re having right now, too! I hope you’re enjoying being Mrs. Winter and soon to be Dr. Winter as well. I’m so proud of your accomplishments and also so thankful for the influence you’ve had in my life. I think without you I would be on a very different path in life, but your love for English has inspired my own. I hope that someday I can inspire others the way you have for me.


6. Kenzie Meyerson

Kenzie, I’m so thankful to have had you pouring into me this semester. I’ve learned more about the Bible and Christianity than I ever could. Without you, I know that I would have a very different relationship with my faith. Thank you for being firm and consistent, even when I wasn’t. I’m so glad that you’re so wise and passionate about being a small group leader. You’ve poured so much into me, and, as I go through my own leadership journey, I hope I can only do a fraction of what you’ve done for me. Congratulations on your graduation––I’m so excited to see what you do in the next seasons of your life as you become a staff person at Chi Alpha. I have no doubt that you will continually pour into others and make a difference in so many lives. God has really made a disciple out of you, and I’m so thankful that you have the gift to spread that love with others!


7. Kylie Watts

Kylie, you have no idea how much of a difference you have made in my life. Even though we’ve been apart for the spring semester, our bond is still as tight as the day you left. I’m so excited to become your roommate next year and start a new chapter in life together. Thank you for being one of my best friends and bringing me into your friend group when it seemed I had nowhere to turn. Even though things have significantly changed since then, I know that you are solid in my life and will always be there for me.

8. Tau Gang

I have no idea where I would be in life without my Tau experience. Thank you all for becoming some great friends and immersing me even deeper into an amazing community of Christians. You’ve all done such unique things in my life, so I want to thank you all individually.


Nick–– Thank you for teaching us how to play YeeHaw. I know we didn’t play it until near the end of our time together, but it's honestly a life-changing game that the entire world should know.


Adam–– I didn’t get to know you very well, but I know that Tau wouldn’t have been the same without you. More than anything, I think your constant devotion and flame for Christ was really inspiring to me and served as a model for what I strive to be.


Emma–– I’m so thankful that we’ve become friends outside of Tau. I love your sense of humor and how generous you are to everyone you meet. It has been amazing to watch you grow in your faith and in turn watch us grow in our friendship. I hope you have a fun summer at home, but I can’t wait to see you back in Minnesota in the fall. 


Taylor–– Thank you for really showing me how a passionate Christian lives. Somehow you manage to be both trendy and Godly, which was a mix I previously thought was impossible. You helped to reignite my faith in ways never would have known without me telling you. I love your bubbly personality and seeing how on fire you are for Jesus. And even though I’m not one of your small groupers, I always know that I can count on you whenever I need a friend. That means more to me than you could ever know.


Grace–– I love how spunky, adventurous, quirky, and duck-loving you are. Your upbeat personality makes the worst of days brighter. Even though I give you a hard time, I really do love you––I only pick on you because you make it so easy. During Tau, we didn’t get to know each other very well, but I’m so glad our relationship has grown since then. You are such an inspiration to me as a musician and your harmonies are always on point. I can’t wait to jam out on the worship team and continue picking on each other next year, too. 


Bianca–– Thank you for somehow picking me to be the person you shared your life story with. I know that without that moment, our friendship would be completely different. I’m so glad that God brought you into my life because, especially at the time, we were both what each other needed at that exact moment. It is amazing to think that God put our lives together and somehow decided that we would be friends. Your constant devotion and faith as a new Christian is so inspiring to me. I’ve said it about all of you, but you are so on fire for Jesus and so diligent in becoming a better person each day. With you, I know that your iron is sharpening mine and vice versa. Thank you for being with me through the highs and lows––I hope you know that I’m always there to do the same for you, too.


I’m so thankful to all of the people who have helped me through the past year of my life. Each and every one of the people on this list has made an impact on my life that has irreversibly changed me. 


I am so blessed to have such an amazing network of people around me who love and care about me. I’m so thankful for how all of these people have imprinted on me, but I’m also waiting in excited anticipation to see how much better next year is with all of these amazing people at my side.


Brianna Strohbehn is a junior at Winona State University and a small-town girl from central Iowa. Brianna is studying English, double majoring in writing and applied and professional writing with hopes of someday becoming an editor at a publishing firm. When she isn't writing, Brianna enjoys thrifting, reading, exploring her new home in Winona, and spending time with family and friends.
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