Today is Thanksgiving, and I find that every year, this is the day that helps me to put my life into perspective. In order to share that, I’d like to make a list of just a few of the things I am thankful for. They aren’t in any order, other than the order in which they popped into my head.

1. My family. This may seem like an obvious one, but the members of my family do a lot of thankless work throughout the year. A combination of moving out of the house for school and having the rest of my family living in Canada has made me feel somewhat disconnected from my family, but being together with a some of them today has made me realize just how much I have to be thankful for. My mom works so hard every day to be the best mom she can be. She does so much for my brother, my dad, and I, and I know that we can never thank her enough. I know that she and my dad have sacrificed much of what they want in order to do what is best for all of us. My dad has provided me with knowledge and experience to learn from. He has achieved so much during his lifetime and has paved the way for me to be successful in whatever I decide to do. My parents decided to start power-walking, and watching their transformation has been incredible. At Pi Phi’s 5k this year, I got to watch my parents run across the finish line with a time that was almost the same as mine! They have achieved a lot in the past year and I am so proud. My grandparents (on my dad’s side) are here this week, and that is something to be so so thankful for. Although I don’t have the opportunity to spend as much time with family because we live in different countries, I believe that I cherish the time I get with them even more. I wish I could spend each holiday with all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, but in the end, I have to remember all of the times we have had together over the years. I am thankful to have social media that allows me to see how they are doing even when I can’t be there with them!

2. My school. Although I have spent the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving complaining about the three papers and two tests I have due on December 3rd (I apologize to all whose ears I filled with this whining), I am thankful to attend a school that challenges me. Yes, it is hard work, and sometimes I question whether or not I am cut out to be where I am. But, I am where I am for a reason, and Carolina has provided me with courses that challenge my morals, my knowledge, and who I am as a person. I have taken courses that have completely changed the way I think and act. This semester, my classes have put me in a strange position. At times, my advertising major and global studies major appear to be at odds with each other. In my ethics class and global studies class, I often feel confused about how I will support the global studies issues that are important to me while also pursuing my dream career in advertising. However, as the semester comes to an end, I have realized that I have to approach this head on. Instead of sitting around and worrying, I am doing some research and writing one of my papers to figure this out. Overall, although the work can be frustrating, in the end, I am so thankful for the opportunity to work hard.

3. Music. As anyone who knows me knows, music is a huge part of my life. In the past 3 years, I have noticed a significant drop in the amount of time I have spent writing and playing music. It has been hard for me to find time to do everything I love to do, but I am thankful that when I get a moment, I am able to sit down at my keyboard and forget about whatever else is happening around me. I know that I can pick up my guitar and play a couple songs, and that makes any day better. I am also thankful for Spotify (haha) for giving me access to the music I love. I am someone who is so internally moved by good music and good lyrics, and I spend a lot of my day searching for new music and analyzing my old favorites. Finally, I must mention that I am thankful for my band! They are weird with me and make it possible for me to live my dream of being a super cool keyboardist in a band. Kenwiibi? Yes we can. (Jaraad, Carolyn, and Daniel will understand this.. everyone else, I’m sorry)

4. Pi Phi. Y’all knew this was coming. I am forever grateful for the friendships I have made through joining Pi Beta Phi. Last year, I was surrounded by wonderful people while living in the Pi Phi house, and they (whether they knew it or not) challenged me to become a better person. I learned a lot about loving yourself and loving others through the many nights and days spent in that house. I learned what it meant to really study hard, but that you didn’t have to do it alone. Also, my best friend Rachel just joined the Pi Phi chapter at NC State, so being able to share that bond with her has been such a cool thing! Recently, I was elected the VP of Communications on UNC’s Panhellenic Executive Council, and I wanted this position so badly because I wanted to show the rest of UNC all of the great things that people in Greek life do. This year, the Eve Carson 5k hosted by Pi Phi and Phi Delt raised $118,000 for the Eve Carson Memorial Scholarship, CEO 4 Teens, and the Pi Phi Literacy Fund, and being able to say I was a part of that is an incredible feeling! I have always wanted to make an impact on something bigger than myself, and Pi Phi has given me the opportunity to feel like I am doing that.

5. The Daily Tar Heel. This might sound like a weird one, but I am so thankful that I have been able to work as a staff member on the photo desk at The Daily Tar Heel this semester. I was completely new to photography, but each of my editors took the time to sit down with me and help me learn how to make my photos better. I learned how to shoot photos in manual, and I overcame my fear of talking on the phone with strangers. Although it was frustrating at times, I was pushed out of my comfort zone, and I learned so much from it. And landing a photo on the front cover of a newspaper is a pretty incredible feeling! Thank you!

6. Halloween Costumes. This Halloween, I lived the dream of dressing up as a loofah as well as a Chipotle burrito. Who could ask for more than 20 yards of tulle and printed-out lettuce?

There are obviously many more things to be thankful for, such as my roommates (who are amazing and hilarious and make me never want to leave my apartment), my friends who are not in Pi Phi, my dog Isabelle, being able to spend this Thanksgiving at the beach, and much more. To conclude, here are some photos of the delicious meal my mom made for us today! YUM! Thank you mom!



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