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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

OPINION: Giving Thanks for more than Turkey

Over the years, new meanings and new memories attach to holidays like Thanksgiving. But whatever opinions you have of the day, appreciating what you have is a concept worth keeping in mind.

In the fast-paced, hectic world of college, losing track of all the opportunities and fortune we have becomes extremely easy. But as college students, we have one of the greatest reasons to be thankful — education.

We are all at Western preparing ourselves for better futures, careers, success and happiness. But that chance isn’t one every person gets.

Every year, 12 percent of high school graduates don’t go to college. While some of these are students who make the active decision not to go, it also includes those who simply can’t.

Whether it’s finances or other circumstances, there are plenty of people out there who would do whatever it took to be where we are now. Even at Western, a relatively small university, average yearly tuition for in-state students is $23,236.

So during this, and any time of year really, it’s important to keep perspective of just how much we have.

That’s not to say there aren’t those students who have to fight and struggle every day for what they have; there are certainly plenty all around us. But Western has all kinds of resources for students who need a little help getting by.

There’s the financial aid office, scholarships, work study and other resources students can use to help pay for tuition, and all of them are available once they arrive at Western.

There are also the counseling and health centers for students to go if they are struggling mentally, emotionally or physically with the lifestyle at college. In addition, there are countless clubs for people to meet and connect with each other and build meaningful relationships.

While some of us may never use some of those resources, the fact they are available is worth celebrating. Where else can you have access to psychiatrists, physicians and guidance counselors all within a few hundred yards of each other?

So be thankful for all the hard work and determination you showed to get to this point. Be thankful for the people who have loved and supported you along the way. Be thankful for the limitless possibilities that await you in the future.

It’s a feeling that doesn’t have to be saved just for when you’re sitting down to your turkey and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day. A little perspective and self-awareness is good to have all the time.

Being grateful can become extremely difficult when the stress of school makes you want to cry, scream, break stuff or some combination of the three. With the promise of finals only a few weeks away, it’s especially important to remember how irreplaceable a good education is.

College isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun. But that doesn’t mean we should be any less happy to be here. Whether you join family or friends this Thanksgiving or stick around to study for finals, take a moment to reflect on what you have to give thanks for.

Plus, be thankful there are only a few more weeks to go.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Western Front.

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