Even as Thanksgiving melds into the final weeks of the fall semester, the reminder to stay grateful for what one has should not fade with it. As Gustavus President Rebecca Bergman reminds all Gusties, “Expressions of gratitude bring out feelings of abundance, appreciation for the blessings and simple pleasures in life, and the beauty of everyday moments”. Expressions like these may be as simple as articulation — speaking aloud the things which make life that much more worth living. Speaking with groups of students, even as they traveled cross country to arrive home, these were the most popular things Gustavus students were thankful for.
Family: assuredly the most widely echoed sentiment, many Gusties expressed their fervent appreciation for family, blood and beyond. “I’m grateful for my family and all their support and for all of the great people I’ve met at Gustavus so far.” Sophomore Tanner Hanson said.
Professors: an integral part of the soul of Gustavus, the heart that teachers share for their students does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. “I’m grateful that despite the fact that COVID has upended everything, all of my profs have been flexible and understanding in assigning assignments and exams” said Junior Alexia “Lexi” Vonruden.
Home: as a large population travels, or has travelled home, the warmth that accompanies it seems all the more welcome by exhausted Gusties. “The ability to have my own space and resources for continuing school at home with all of my needs being taken care of. That’s something many people may not have right now and I don’t want to take it for granted” said Junior Grace Worwa.
Distraction: Escaping the chaos of completing the semester in a socially responsible way has left a lot of Gusties reminded how valuable the simplest things in life can be. “I am grateful for my friends, my family, and every video streaming service that I own that has brought me entertainment during COVID”, said Hailey Magnison.
Education: As college students approach finals, it may be difficult to remember why to continue the struggle. Yet, education reigned popular as an item of gratitude as, “I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to get an education! It’s a privilege many don’t have, and it’s important not to take it for granted”, said Junior Ben Menke.
Hope: this year may have been trying, dark even, at times, but it is in the dark that one most plainly sees the light. A gratitude felt by many across campus, “I am grateful that throughout all the chaos of this year, there have been kind and loving people that have helped each other out with no reward in mind, and that gives me hope for a better tomorrow” said Junior Christopher Ortiz.
While the list could continue on with Gustie-gratitudes, health, friends, video games, Wifi hotspots, not yet having to trudge through a thick blanket of snow, and so on, these were the top hits. Having hopefully enjoyed the turkey and stuffing, Gusties exit Thanksgiving weekend with an abundance of gratitude towards each other and what they have. Entering the time after break, all Gusties have been reminded by President Bergman to keep these things in mind. Popular recommendations of new ways to practice gratitude could be practicing kindness in everyday life, avoiding negative content— especially on the internet, and simply writing down little things that you are grateful for! One niche way to practice gratitude as President Bergman said in her email, “Make a promise to yourself to avoid complaining or criticizing others. If you slip up, catch yourself, rally your willpower and start again”. Moving into December, the month of presents, focusing on spreading joy to the people around you might be the best way to project gratefulness. As the new year is ushered in, Gusties will continue to honor in a spirit of gratitude the things, and people, that have brought them this far.