Being thankful: college edition

By Cynthia Ntinunu

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

It’s the holiday season and for some that means trying to put aside their “Mr. Grinch” attitude. It’s time to get in the spirit of more positive things like thankfulness, gratitude and generosity.

Despite the gluttonous and historically questionable premises that the holiday celebrates, Thanksgiving is about being grateful for the people that you feel fortunate to have in your life.

And that gratitude should not dry up with the turkey leftovers. Being thankful for your good health, friendship and fortune shouldn’t be limited to commercialized holidays, but rather practiced on an everyday basis.

I encourage you to be thankful for all the positive things in your life especially at a time where there seems to be so much darkness in the world.

As a college student, I especially  think it’s important to realize – despite being on the cusp of finals and other end of semester stresses – how fortunate we all truly are to have the opportunity to receive a higher education where we are exposed to all sorts of cultures, mindsets and informational content.

In an attempt to spread some holiday (and everyday cheer) here’s a list of overlooked things or people that you should be thankful for.


It’s no secret that college students love their morning or afternoon brew. You will often see a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee in the hands of passerby on campus. Coffee is like a companion: it’s loyal and trustworthy. It will always be there when you need it, in short or large supplies. It’s decadent both at three in the morning or three at afternoon. If there is any commodity to be thankful for, coffee is takes the cake.


This can be a hit or miss for some, but ordinarily roommates are a blessing. At times it’s great to be in the presence of someone else. Most roommates are someone we can respect and get along with, at least in terms of being cordial. Having someone close to your age that understands what you are going through is a major bonus. Plus, you will need someone to save you from the wintery cold and open the door for you when you lock yourself out.

Instagram sunsets

If the University of Massachusetts  is famous for anything, it should be its gorgeous sunsets. Everyone has taken at least one picture of the orangey-pink, cotton candy-looking sunset that can be viewed most optimally from the high rise buildings in Southwest.

They are aesthetically pleasing and will surely gain you some positive attention on your Instagram posts. Not only are sunset pictures great for your feed, but they restore you confidence in the beauty of this world. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of our own lives, not taking time to appreciate what’s in front of us, but sunsets should be a peaceful reminder to be present in our lives.

Understanding professors

We all know the college grind is real. It isn’t always a walk in the park and sometimes it feels like professors are out to get us. But we all have at least one professor in our academic careers who is more understanding. The professor who realizes that we have other classes, jobs, social lives and sleep schedules to cater to. These types of professors brighten our days and provide solace in our busy schedules. These types of professors should be rejoiced and given nothing but bonus stars and positive reviews on “Rate My Professors.”


It’s inevitable to go through life now and again without Wi-Fi. As a millennial sometimes it even feels like I need it as much as I need air. If students didn’t have Wi-Fi, more than half the things we do academically wouldn’t get accomplished. We wouldn’t be able to complete our homework, check Spire, communicate with professors or check out our celebrity Instagram’s during class. Nevertheless, Wi-Fi is an essential too in the time that we’re in.

Top-notch dining

UMass has some of the best food across all universities in America. It was rated number one for “best campus food” by the Princeton Review, it won the “Sustainability Gold Award” from The National Association of College and University Food Services and among many other things, it has an extremely strong culinary program.

Although we may not always like all the options, we have better food than most people in the world. It’s a privilege to get up and just grab food. We must recognize other people don’t have this privilege. A favorite of mine that I’m always reaching for are the crispy, golden fries at Berkshire Dining Commons.


On a serious note, the ability to attend college in itself is such a privilege. It’s key that we never forget that other people aren’t fortunate enough to be in our position. Yes, college is expensive but our education is very important.

I encourage you to do something as simple as thanking whomever supports you emotionally or financially in college. And to treat yourself, if you are the one doing the supporting. Either way, college is a great experience that we all should be grateful for. I know I am.

Remembering that even the smallest things have such great worth in our lives can help brighten our holiday seasons. Take some time to reflect on your life up to this point – I’m sure that you will find that you have more to be grateful for than you think.

Cynitha Ntinunu can be reached at [email protected]