July 18, 2024

Don’t tell me the latest statistics. Don’t tell me how you hate your classes. Don’t come to me asking if you can vent about your test that you just failed because we both know it was open note. Just don’t. Instead, say something you’re thankful for or nothing at all.

Maybe it’s the late nights, how it’s getting colder or that the leaves are turning color, but I am now thinking on the upside. Or at least I’m trying to. Every morning, I try to not grumble at the fact that campus is an infected prison. I smile.

Looking at my post-it’s on my mirror, I read the same message every day: How can I improve myself today? Another above it reads: You got this. And I got this. I’m working this, even if it’s slow. I am dancing on clouds. Plop goes the needle on a record. Spinning, the music lifts me into high spirits, and the coffee pouring out of my off-brand Keurig sends scents of vanilla and caramel into my soul. Starting my morning with a routine temperature check with a thermometer and a bowl of homemade granola is essential and always makes me feel collected. Having a routine allows me to feel a little more in control, and for that I am thankful.

Walking around campus each morning is pure and quiet. Almost no one is around, and that’s because it’s before nine and everyone most likely takes their first class in bed. Sometimes a mist hovers over the grass. Once in a while, the sun peeks through the trees, illuminating them in nature’s version of a stained-glass window. I watch the neighborhood black cat roam through the thickets, playing with tumbling leaves or pinecones. I scratch its head, for the kind heart of this creature reminds me of my own pet at home. It brings warmth to my heart. For this, I am thankful.

Every day, I find something different to appreciate, whether or not it is on this campus. It can be a brother hundreds of miles away, sitting in an apartment in Nashville along with two other people, hundreds of records and multiple house plants. It can be my aunt and uncle across the Pacific Ocean, wandering the landscapes of New Zealand. It can be a heartwarming Instagram post. It can be the song I heard on the radio the other day. It can be the coffee that I made today because I added the perfect amount of sugar and creamer to compliment the flavors. It can even be someone’s laugh or just the chance that I got to see them today. I send a thank you to whoever’s listening for what you do to lift me up.

Because I know it’s not easy. But I am thankful every day that I have the tiny things and tiny people that keep me going.

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