November 24, 2015

GUEST BLOG | Gratefulness and Thankfulness

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It is November and if you are reading this, you are likely feeling the same emotions as me and everyone else on campus. You are feeling the pressure of a semester coming to an end followed by the inevitable grind of finals. You need to raise those grades or maintain them. You have a ridiculous amount of work to do and not much time to do it. You need to assemble your schedule for next semester and tuition is due soon. Who could blame you for being what my grandmother described as “grumpy”?

Yet amidst this maelstrom, we are expected to give thanks in a few days. If you take a breath, you will realize that we all have undeniable blessings. For one, we all have been given the opportunity to attend one of the greatest educational institutions on the planet. If that does not move you, remember back to when you were applying to college. You wondered who would accept you. You thought, “My grades/scores/extracurriculars could have been better.” How can I explain my life in a 100-word essay? If they reject valedictorians with perfect SAT scores, how will I get in? Nonetheless, we were all given one of the great opportunities of our lifetimes by being admitted to Cornell.

Still, this may seem like a bad time of year to be grateful for being a Cornellian. But it is the perfect time to give thanks. As Artistole once said, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Yes, this is a tough time of year, but one must keep perspective. We are fortunate to be receiving a top-flight education that will inform us and open doors for the rest of our lives. That is indeed “sweet.”

Then there is a whole other subset of things for which we can give thanks. About one in eight people in the world go to bed hungry. We only go to bed hungry if we didn’t get to one of the eateries on or off campus on time. Whereas many have no shelter, if our shelter is somehow not fully functional, we indignantly call campus maintenance to fix it.

Yes, more would be nice. More expensive clothing. A flashy sports car. The means and time to travel the world. But as Oprah Winfrey once suggested, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

We all have reasons to give thanks. Reflect on the good in your life. Consider what you have and all of your blessings. I thank you for reading this blog and wish you a wonderful holiday season!