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Thanksgiving is easily one of our favorite holidays, but we can tend to get too caught up in the modern traditions and forget about the core values that are the foundation of the celebration. Yes, engorging on massive amounts of turkey and mashed potatoes are great, and we all love a good Black Friday sale, but aren’t we forgetting something?

This holiday season let’s all take a minute to reflect on what we’re thankful for (hence the name THANKSgiving).

First off, let’s give some gratitude for our family. They can drive us crazy at times, especially around the holidays, but we love them all the same. For most of us, our family is our rock. They’ve helped us get to where we are today, and there aren’t enough thank you cards in the world to justify what they do for us. It might be difficult to appreciate them through the constant interrogations about your love life, major, and grades, but they mean well. They probably haven’t seen us in a while, and they’re just trying to stay updated on our crazy college lives. Give your grandma an extra hug or laugh at you dad’s lame joke a little more than usual. No matter what your family dynamic is, we can all be thankful for the crazy relatives we are lucky enough to have.

How about our relationships? We all need to take the time to be thankful for the bonds we have built in the past year, whether that be romantically or through friendships. We’re pretty lucky to have people that voluntarily put up with us, but we don’t acknowledge it very often. It doesn’t take much to let your boyfriend know how much they mean to you, and I’m sure your best friend would love an appreciation post on Instagram dedicated to her. No matter how you decide to do it, show some gratitude for the relationships you’ve built in the past months. We’re lucky to have them, and we probably don’t know where we’d be without them.

Be thankful for your opportunities! Everyday each of us is lucky enough to go out in the world and be presented with a plethora of options that could change the course of our life. By choosing to come to college, we are all already embarking on a major life decision. We are fortunate enough to have the chance to further our education to come to our dream career, but sometimes we can take that for granted. School is stressful, I get it, but take a look into the future and realize how lucky you are to have finals right around the corner. Appreciate the doors that Winthrop has opened for you! Between professors, majors, clubs, and organizations, this university has given every student the chance to pursue what they love. Many people don’t have a multitude of outlets to express their passions, but we are lucky enough that this is what we call home. Recognize the opportunities you’ve been presented with and give them your all.

This one can be a little harder, but appreciate your struggles. It can be so easy to get caught up in the anxiety that comes with life’s obstacles, but we need to take a minute to realize how we’ve grown because of them. Nobody is thankful for a break up, cancer, or death in the family, but look at how far you’ve come because of it. This one can hit pretty hard in my family, but I try to not let myself get distracted by the pain I felt during the hard times. Instead, I look at how much stronger I am. Without my past, I never would have made it to college. Also, look at the people you’ve met because of it. If it weren’t for my experience, I never would have met people that I now consider part of my family. The people I talk to on a daily business never would have known my name, and I would have missed out on so many great memories. Even though we would all prefer that these struggles didn’t happen, we don’t have the power to change them. Instead, we need to focus on what we gained because of them.

Lastly, take the time to be grateful for your life. We have family, relationships, opportunities, and strength that have shaped us into the person we are today. Without them, I’m sure most of us would be in a very different point of our lives. Everything around us develops our passions and motivations, allowing us to strive for our goals. Even though everything listed has a major impact on our lives, we are the main reason we get out of bed every morning. We want a degree and a career, so we go to class and finish assignments. Life is the chance to do something great, and how lucky are we that every person on the planet has that opportunity? We could become anyone we want with enough determination. Don’t take your life for granted and do something amazing with it.

This is only a small compilation of everything we should be thankful for. While we are stuffing our faces with endless amounts of food on Thursday, let’s all take a minute to appreciate everything we have. We are very fortunate to be in the situation we’re in, and need to acknowledge that. Be grateful for the cousins that get on your last nerves, friends that drive you crazy, endless decisions you have to make, and the hardships you’ve had to face. Without them, you wouldn’t have a life to call yours. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and remember to be grateful.

Kaylee Hall

Winthrop '22

Kaylee is a freshman athletic training major who is excited to be starting her first year at Winthrop. She loves everything Disney and Gilmore Girls, and you can usually find her with a pretty big cup of coffee. She spends most of her free time aimlessly wondering around Target and TJ Maxx, and she is always looking to meet new people. Follow her on Instagram: @kay.hall04
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