What Am I Grateful For? Students Respond


Two students share what they are thankful for this year. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Erica Weidner

In terms of my Thanksgiving plans, not much will change. There will definitely be more leftovers than we can ever hope to eat, but that’s typical of a Thanksgiving feast. I’m still going to make both pumpkin and apple pie, even if those pies are only eaten by my parents, my grandmother and myself. That’s roughly half a pie per person, but I think we can manage. 

Of course, Thanksgiving also brings with it a long list of things to be thankful for. I’d argue that this Thanksgiving’s list is longer than usual. There’s nothing like a worldwide crisis to make you realize what’s important to you. And, as it turns out, there are a lot of things important to me.

There are the big things that I’m thankful for — the things for which, in 2020 especially, we’re all thankful. I’m thankful for my parents, who somehow never grew tired of me through a long, long quarantine. I’m thankful for my dogs, though they’re probably more thankful for me given how much time I spent with them this year. I’m thankful for my friends, who were kind to me when I was not kind to myself. 

I’m thankful for this semester, as brief as it’s been, and for the memories I’ve made during it. I’m thankful for the fat squirrels that follow me around Eddie’s looking for nuts, for the man at Urban Kitchen who knows my order the second I walk in the door and for every person who’s texted me a meme after seeing the sign in my dorm room window.

I’m thankful for New York City, which is probably a reaction to how much I didn’t realize I’d miss it from my home in suburban Pennsylvania. And I’m not just thankful for the city, but all of its people and its minutiae: the halal cart vendor who gives me free drinks, the little boy on the Staten Island Ferry pointing at each passing boat and asking if it was the Titanic, the Uber driver with Woody and Buzz Lightyear toys glued on top of his vehicle. 

Then there’s the small things. I’m thankful that my succulents didn’t die of thirst on my dorm room windowsill while the spring semester was in limbo. They’re not only alive, they’re thriving. I’m thankful for the abundance of new music that’s come out in 2020 — as difficult as this year has been, its soundtrack has slapped, and for that I’m very grateful. I’m thankful that my local grocery store was always well-stocked with bagels, and I’m thankful that the cashier didn’t question why I was buying bagels and cream cheese at a 1:1 ratio.

And finally, I’m thankful for you, whoever’s reading this, whether you’re a copy editor or a friend or a random passerby browsing the Ram’s website. Thank you for listening to me being thankful for a myriad of things.


Taylor Mascetta

This year, I feel grateful for how the quarantine allowed me to grow as a person. Trust me, I would much rather have had a normal year without the raging pandemic, but quarantine forced me to take a necessary step back to reflect upon life and develop my inner strength. 

Right before quarantine began, I was in a pretty dark spot. I struggled with the freshmen year transition, often second-guessing my capability to craft new friendships and maintain my old ones. I focused solely on the negative aspects of myself, picking out things I could’ve done differently and focusing on others’ opinions more than my own.

My perpetually busy, fast-paced lifestyle suddenly careened to a stop the moment quarantine started. It actually gave me the opportunity to sit down and do nothing for a change, but my insecurities remained. I spent a lot of time checking and refreshing my social media, hoping for responses that would never come. However, all of this free time allowed me to develop new hobbies, which in turn taught me a lot about appreciating myself for who I truly was. They distracted me from depressive thoughts and gave me something to enjoy as quarantine dragged on. 

I started reading again after years of neglecting it, began listening to uplifting podcasts, journaling, developed a coffee addiction after multiple visits to local cafés and spent hours upon hours grinding away at “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” Thankfully, I was able to continue working amid the pandemic at a local ice cream shop and my dad’s chiropractic office, developing great relationships with the customers at both. 

And, on top of that, I woke up early every morning to run despite the cancellation of any near-future competition. After a mentally tough first collegiate season, I rediscovered my deep love for running after downloading Strava and connecting with many old and new friends over it. Quarantine provided me with a fresh start without races and allowed me to return to campus pumped up for the future competitions.

Along with this, my friendships strengthened as a result. I realized that I did have a few close circles of friends who would always be there for me, no matter what. I stopped pouring myself into toxic relationships and instead opened up to those I trusted from back home and at Fordham. That, in turn, helped me address some deep-seeded struggles I often neglected. We had a lot of socially-distant fun, such as trying out new coffee places in the area, doing group PowerPoints over Zoom or watching the sunset in our local mall’s parking garage. Staying home also strengthened relationships with my family, allowing us to spend more time together. Family game or movie nights became an amazing pastime that I dearly miss when I’m at school. 

Overall, everything over quarantine made me feel accomplished in myself, and I am so grateful to have done so. While some nights were admittedly quite tough, I still felt a sense of pride that I made it through. I learned to put myself and my own feelings first and loved myself because of it. When I returned to school, I felt so much more confident in myself, which helped me develop even better relationships as a result. I couldn’t be happier.