We had Thanksgiving just over a week ago. The majority of us went home and spent time with our families and the other people we care about. We all spend a day making large amounts of food and then stuffing it down our throats before passing out for a few hours. Then some of us go shopping to stock up on those great holiday sales, while others just relax with their families. Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving differently, but the idea is the same: a group of people who love each other and enjoy each other’s company get together to relax and take a break from the world.
Then on Monday we returned back to that chaotic world. I’m not just talking about our busy schedules and stressful academic lives, I’m talking about the real world – the world where a controversial lecturer attacked a community member and police had to shut things down. A world where, even though it’s 2017, there are still groups in this country facing systemic discrimination. A world where all around people are still fighting for the basic human rights that all of us are supposedly born with.
UConn does not exist in some kind of bubble where these kind of problems don’t affect us. As Tuesday night showed us, the world keeps spinning whether we want it to or not.
So with that in mind, the question becomes, “How do we make it through?” How can we expect to make it through our classes, make it through everything when outside it seems like it everything is going to hell?
I listen to this feminist podcast called “Hellbent” created by Sarah Lerner and Devon Handy. Among other things, every episode they do something called a “gratitude check.” They know that outside the world is going to shit in more ways than one and if you’re going to fight or perservere against everything that is happening, you need to find some way to be grounded. Gratitude checks do that. You might not agree with the content of the podcast but you have to admit that the idea of gratitude checks is a great one.
Now the question changes. It’s no longer how to be get through things. It now becomes, what are you grateful for? Last week we all sat around a table and said what were thankful for from the past year, no matter how big or small it was. Why can’t we do that kind of thing every single day or maybe once a week? And in the theme of last week, let’s make the question, “What are you thankful for?”
I’m thankful for this school. Lots of crazy shit has gone down these past few weeks, but regardless of all of that, the majority of students have shown they are unwilling to let hate win. I’m thankful for my friends and family who have supported me even while I have doubted myself and my future.
Most of all I’m thankful for this newspaper. The Daily Campus has received some criticism over the past few weeks over disagreements in certain stories. Maybe it’s true; maybe we have made some mistakes with our reporting, but we are trying. We are trying to act as a voice for students while giving students real-world experience. The Daily Campus has provided me a platform to become a better writer and a better photojournalist. It has allowed me to help tell the stories of the people on this campus.
Figuring out what to be thankful for might seem like a small thing, but it is a great way to remain grounded. As we get closer to the end of the semester, it becomes more important than ever to remain stable and in good health. Looking for those little lights will help with that.