I never realized how much I appreciated Thanksgiving as a time for reflection until I found myself just under 6,000 miles away from home and between two tense states, Israel and Palestine. This distance, combined with conflict I could have never imagined myself navigating, taught me why it is so important to take time throughout every day to give thanks for those around me and the opportunities I have been given.
Just like last year, I have a core group of family and friends -who have become family- that I would like to take time to appreciate. These people have seen me at my best and worst moments and still chose to help me reach even greater heights. These people are my everything and without them, I would not be where I am today. Thank you, Mom, Suzie, Christian, Miles, Aunt Kathy, Uncle John, Kara, Em McDerm, the squad, Hannah, Morgan, and Mario.
There are also so many students at Notre Dame that effortlessly fill me with joy. Whether it be through conversation, a quick smile, a head bob, study breaks, LaFun runs, or endless laughter, these are the very people that make every day so much better. It's hard enough to get through some frigid ND winters but, it's people like this that make the world a little bit brighter. Thank you.
I should also mention the many Notre Dame professors and staff that have made some 100 student classrooms and dorms feel welcoming and personal. In the economics department alone, there are so many wonderful and charismatic professors that will help in any way they can, inside or outside of the classroom. Then there are the faculty that I have met through clubs, events, and retreats. Their willingness to go the extra mile to be available to every student and foster a deeper community than in the classroom is unparalleled. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the rectors that continue to make a simple universal dorm feel like a home away from home. This university would not be a family without it being at the center of every class, every club, every dorm, and everywhere in between. Thank you, professors, faculty, and staff.
I would finally like to acknowledge the many donors and sponsors to Notre Dame. These people and organizations have truly made a Notre Dame education possible for every student, regardless of their financial status. I would not be here, writing this, had it not been for you all. For that, I am thankful, grateful, and happily not indebted.
For this upcoming year, I want to make sure that I am passing on the same incredible experiences as the aforementioned unsung heroes. It is my job as a student and one who has had the invaluable platform that comes with my ND education and opportunities that I make sure future generations, at Notre Dame and those not, can partake in the same chances I have had. This Thanksgiving, I am more than thankful for all these incredible individuals; I am beholden to extend a helping hand to those following in my footsteps.