As Thanksgiving comes and goes, a lot of people tend to forget the meaning behind the holiday, focusing instead on the (wonderful) break from school. Although this is not said often, there are a lot of things that we have to be thankful for, especially as students at UC Irvine.
Let’s start with the campus. We walk around the park and buildings every day and rarely notice how beautiful they really are. I never notice the architecture but I love the way the Engineering Hall shines in the sun. Right in front of the Humanities building are some cute little tables off to the side, which are perfect for a peaceful lunch or a study break with friends. And on some quiet mornings when it’s early enough that there are scarcely any students walking across Aldrich Park, the birds sing a little louder, the plants look a little greener and it makes my day a little bit brighter, even when heading to the classes I dread.
Classes are another thing I’ve learned to appreciate here at UCI. Yes, midterms and grades and even some professors can be a drag, but when I spend some time thinking about my education, I am nothing but grateful … for most classes. Let’s start with the variety of classes that are offered, from social dance to quantum physics to criminal law courses. There’s a little bit of something for everybody, whether you’re in film and media studies with a crazy passion for math, or an engineer who really enjoys learning about art history. Though it’s difficult to see the value of our education when we’re stressing and procrastinating, each one of us learns something pretty cool in almost all of our classes. I know there’s a lot that I’ve taken away from classes that I didn’t think I would ever be interested in.
Classes aren’t the only things offered on campus that provide diversity and opportunity — there are plenty of clubs that make it so much more worth it to be a UCI student. From the ethnic clubs to the ones that prepare you for the future to the ones where people with the same hobbies can get together, there are clubs to suit everyone’s needs on campus. And even better, if you don’t feel that any of the clubs are for you, just gather some supporters and start your own club! The clubs on campus even provide opportunities for people to join when they can’t make the meetings — they have social events or group events outside and are open to everybody.
We should appreciate that UCI provides so many groups for people to help them feel like they belong; students can get reconnected with their cultural background or join fellow commuters or do arts and crafts together.
Last, but certainly not the least, it is the students of UCI that give me something to be thankful for every day. It’s not just the fact that there are supportive friends and kind strangers; it’s that everyone I’ve met from the varying population of UCI is open-minded and accepting of every person. It doesn’t matter who these students were in high school or whether they fit the general stereotype of a cheerleader or a mathlete. The students here find themselves connected through their experiences and opportunities rather than their cliques. And for this, I thank you all.
There are so many things to complain about when in college — tuition, grades, bad days — that many of us forget to see that there’s so much more good that outweighs the bad. So look on the bright side, see the glass half-full and appreciate the little things that are making up your college experience because those could turn out to be the big things when you’re older.