Last updateWed, 08 Apr 2020 5pm


Giving Thanks at the University

In the spirit of the holiday season, most see Thanksgiving as a long weekend to eat turkey, watch football, and of course for students, catch up on some sleep. However, as time has passed it seems that the underlying meaning of why we give thanks gets overlooked, or rather has changed among the younger generations since the pilgrims first landed on Plymouth Rock.

“I’m really thankful for my life in general. I could be in such a worse position than I am now,” said Michael Udayakumar, a senior.  “In our generation we tend to complain about things that when you put them into a bigger perspective really aren’t a big deal. Like you may think how you hate how many classes you have this semester, while you should be thankful you have classes you attend and that you can be at a university.”

While Thanksgiving is a nationwide holiday celebrated by many Americans through parades and food comas, it was originally a religious holiday. As we all remember learning while drawing hand turkeys in elementary school, the pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving after suffering harsh conditions and severe illnesses that plagued their colony.

They gave thanks to each other and God as the colony made it through the rough conditions and were able to settle down into a flourishing community that included the Native American tribes. However, it can easily be seen how that could have gotten lost since Christmas has taken over with music and advertisements along with Black Friday. The media is bombarded as soon as Halloween is over.

Jose Aguilar explained, “Well, throughout the year, there are a lot of holidays that are based on presents and I feel that Thanksgiving is a little underappreciated,” he said “As soon as it is Thanksgiving people immediately start thinking about Christmas, so I think the importance is to remind people how grateful and important they are in your life, and to say ‘Thank You’ every once in a while.”

Some people have more to be thankful for than turkey and potatoes. “I’m thankful for family, hopefully a healthy new baby, a very supportive husband, and a wonderful life full of opportunities and support,” said Kristin Rosengrant, an adjunct professor in the Music and Theatre Department who recently found out she is having a baby girl in the spring. “I think that showing thanks or gratitude in any way that you can is really important to show that you do appreciate others and that you are thankful for in your life.”

With this time of thanks students are finding ways to show their appreciation in any way that they can. Whether it be food drives through student organizations, or simply saying thanks to a professor. Aguilar is showing his appreciation as a member of the student run group, Monmouth University Street Team (MUST), by encouraging students, faculty and staff to write out thank you cards to fellow friends and colleagues on campus to show their gratitude.

“We think it’s important to remember the people that you are thankful for because when it’s Thanksgiving, we tend to think about our material possessions,” said Michelle Grushko, a sophomore. “We [don’t] want to have to focus on one day of Thanksgiving, we want to make it into a whole month of being grateful for all the things that we have.”

Whatever your feelings may be about the holiday, it is a good time to reflect on the past, and how we can possibly improve for the incoming year. Also, reflecting and spending time with the family, even if they do drive you crazy, is important because there are those who do not even have someone with which they can share the holiday.

“For me, it’s all about being personable, and the little things like asking a friend you haven’t talked to in a while how they are doing, what they have going on for the day, how their family is,” Udaykumar said. “It really shows your friends and others that you are grateful for having them in your life.”

As for me, I am thankful for all my friends and family in my life, and that I have made it halfway through my senior year in one piece. Now somebody pass the stuffing.

PHOTO COURTESY of Anna Chamberlain

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151