That time of year approaches, with turkeys, pies, cornucopias, and early Christmas shopping. For students, it is a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, and perhaps to finish a paper or two.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time, mainly for the company, and also for the food. As a college student, I am very grateful for the opportunity to just be with my family and unwind a little before crunch-time. But as a college student, I also belong to another, bigger academic family. I owe a lot of who I am today to the successes and struggles I have undergone as an undergraduate. My classmates, housemates, and professors have played an integral role in my development at Keuka. But what about the other key players?
Today, I went around and asked faculty and staff who (with one exception) did not teach courses, but still had integral roles to the day-to-day functions of Keuka College. These are the people that work with student life operations or help run offices or other vital components of the college. I am thankful for them because without them, my college experience would not be the same, and the college would not be as smooth running. These are important members of our college community, so it is important to hear what they are thankful for.
Michelle Sheldon, Academic Affairs Administrative Assistant: “My family and health.”
Jackie Clark, Front of the House (AVI): My family and my grandchildren.”
Amanda Miller, Retail Supervisor for AVI: “My family, and my position here at the college with the new food company.”
Patrick Reape, Director of Residence Life: “I’m thankful for a dedicated and hardworking staff.”
Kelsey Deso, Davis Residence Director: “Just my family. My nieces mainly. Existing in the world.”
Margeaux DePrez, Space Residence Director: “Sunshine and rainbows because I love sunshine, and we don’t see it in the winter.”
Rebecca Capek, Saunders Residence Director: “Family and friends is a big one, and the fact that I actually have a job after college.”
Eugene Mont, Ball Residence Director: “I’m thankful for Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving… [Rebecca responds: "So you can buy transformers!] Yeah, that’s what I’m really thankful for is Transformers.”
Joanne Jacobs, Experiential Learning Secretary: “Loved ones and family.”
Penny Webber, A.S.K. Office Manager: “My family and friends.”
Carole Lillis, Director of A.S.K. Office/Assistant Professor of English: “Health for my family.”
Jim Blackburn, Dean of Students: “Personally, I’m thankful for my wonderful family and kids. And I guess professionally I’m thankful for being able to work with college students and all of their energy and varied perspectives on life.”
Tracy McFarland, Associate VP for Student Development: “Just the opportunity to take some time off and be with my family.”
Betty Hill, Student Affairs Office Manager: “I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to be here at Keuka, and my favorite part of the job is getting to know students.”
Michelle Waugh, Sales Associate: “Probably my family and being retired from the army–finally, after 21 years!–and the hope to someday have peace.”
Gretchen Parsells, Manager of Communications: “I’m thankful for my son–he’s the greatest thing ever. I’m thankful that I have a family who loves me… and I’m thankful that I have a job I absolutely love.”
Jessica Noveck, Student Services Representative (Registrar): “I am thankful for having a healthy family that will be with me during the holidays.”
Beth Tillman, Student Services Representative (Registrar): [After hearing Jessica's response) "You took mine!" [To me] “Ditto.”
Hopefully this puts you in the spirit of gratitude (or the “attitude of gratitude”). I think, as college students in America, we take way too much for granted. So enjoy the time with family, and enjoy the food. But most of all, do not forget the little things that make each day possible.
Even with all the world’s turmoil and our perplexing challenges here at home, it is good to pause and reflect on all our many blessings and advantages as Americans and citizens of the world. Take time to thank those who support, encourage and love you, including faculty, staff and friends here at Keuka. I hope you all have a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Please be safe in your travels.
With that wonderful message in mind, safe travels, and Happy Thanksgiving!