Thanksgiving Traditions Fondly Remembered
By: Kaitlyn Boland
Out of all the holidays in the year, Thanksgiving is the one that makes me reflect the most strongly about my family. My family gathers at my aunt and uncle’s house every November, and although things can be a little hectic while dinner is being put together, one of my favorite moments occurs when we all sit down together at the dining room table. Before we begin eating, each family member tells everyone what they are the most thankful for, and we go around the table until each family member has had a turn (the only member who does not share yet is my two-year old nephew, but I am excited for the day when he will partake in this family tradition).
Everybody listens to the family member while he/she is sharing, and no eating occurs while this event is happening. We begin by starting at one end of the table, and each family member shares until we reach the last person at the opposite end. There are things in our lives that we are all thankful for, such as homes to live in, food to eat, and of course the family that is gathered around all of us, but some of our sharing pertain to what we have been through within the past year. In 2013, my cousin shared that she was thankful for her daughter who she had given birth to a few weeks prior. This could not have been shared the year before because my little cousin was not a part of our family yet, but at that particular time, my cousin now had a beautiful baby girl to be thankful for. My Mom also shared that she was thankful simply to be there at the table with us last November, and this was something new that she was sharing with us. The week before Thanksgiving, she had undergone surgery after being diagnosed with breast cancer in October, and she shared with us how grateful she was to be able to be at my aunt and uncle’s house. This may have seemed a very simple thing to be thankful for, but this sense of thanks carried a deeper meaning for my Mom based on what she had recently endured.
I greatly enjoy this family tradition. It allows everyone to pause and reflect on what they have to be grateful for in their lives, and by sharing out loud what we are thankful for, the other family members can also realize why we are grateful for certain things. Each family member goes through his/her own unique journey throughout the year, and this journey gives us the opportunity to develop a sense of thanks for things we may not have been thankful for before. Each family member has his/her own unique thoughts and feelings, and sharing what we are thankful for allows us to express these thoughts and feelings and allows the other family members to recognize each person’s distinct perspectives.
There is another tradition that my family partakes in every year between Thanksgiving dinner and dessert. My three female cousins and I, as well as our spouses/boyfriends, partake in a holiday grab bag together each December, and we begin this tradition in November on Thanksgiving night. Over time, it has become my job to write each person’s name down on a slip of paper and place all of the pieces of paper into a bowl. The bowl is passed around, and each person picks a name (every year someone always ends up picking herself and needs to choose again). The name on the piece of paper is whom that person buys a gift for, and we all exchange the gifts the following month and find out who our secret gift giver is. I love that my family does this on Thanksgiving night. Even though one holiday is coming to a close, there is still a fun activity to take part in, and this activity also has the mysterious appeal of not immediately knowing whom your gift giver is. I hope this tradition endures in my family for many more years, and it is something I look forward to each Thanksgiving night.
Written by: Lauren Duffy
To any full-time college student, organization is a total struggle, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few ways to stay organized during your college years:
Buy an awesome planner:
A planner is an absolute must for anyone who wants to stay organized in everyday life. This does not just apply for college students. Everyone who has a busy life needs one to survive. There are so many different options for planners, but you can choose whatever works best. For myself, I like a planner that has plenty of room for me to write down to-do lists and new assignments. I also like to have a planner that includes a full month calendar at the beginning of each month. This is where I write down any important dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, holidays or even future doctor appointments. You may enjoy a planner that has a fun design. Your busy days won’t seem so daunting when you have a visually pleasing planner to look at.
Use a notebook for each class:
When it comes to notebooks, I need one for each individual course. Years ago, I got into the habit of using one notebook for everything. It was total chaos. When it was time to study, I never had any idea where my notes were. When it was time to hand in my homework, I had to frantically search. It made my life much more difficult to use only one notebook. Having separate notebooks for each class was so much easier! I always knew where I left off in my note taking and I could find my assignments no problem.
Keep your electronic documents properly sorted:
As I sat in the LIU Post Writing Center this morning with Kainat, another writing assistant, we discussed our electronic organization when it comes to our education. We both believe electronic organization can not only benefit students in college, but in their future years as well. On the desktop of my laptop, I have three major folders – “Schoolwork,” “Internship” and “Writing Center.” Within my “Schoolwork” folder, I have files for each semester and then for each class. This organization system makes it easy to access old documents if I need to put together a portfolio for a potential employer or if I need to look back on formatting styles.
Color code your life:
I’ve seen color coding benefit students all over campus in many different ways. When I first started at LIU Post, I purchased a different color folder and notebook for each of my classes. I used a red folder and notebook for Introduction to Public Relations, but I used a green folder and notebook for Mass Media. That was the extent of my color coding, but other students are more extreme. I’ve witnessed a few friends of mine use different color pens in their planners – purple for homework assignments, red for their work schedule, blue for specific appointments, etc. To help with her thesis, Kainat uses colored Post-its in her sources to represent different major points.
Frequently write out to-do lists:
To-do lists keep me sane on a daily basis. I write them out at least twice a week – sometimes more! Whenever I feel too stressed out with work or school or whatever I have going on that week, writing a to-do list always makes me feel more comfortable. Having a physical list in front of me makes my assignments seem less daunting. Often, I feel like I’m forgetting about an assignment that’s due. When I write out a list, I internally go through each class and physically look through the syllabus and my notes to figure out what to study or what assignments will be due soon. I often write out separate lists for tasks outside of school. This applies to errands, chores or even resume/cover letter updates. Crossing bullet points off my to-do lists helps ease my anxiety and gives me a solid feeling of accomplishment.
Start fresh each semester:
Starting fresh does not necessarily mean you have to go out and buy new school supplies. As a full-time college students, budgets must be small for us to get by. Right before each semester begins, I go through my old notebooks and get rid of anything I don’t need. I rip out any old notes from each notebook, save what will be beneficial to keep and throw away whatever is useless. Usually, I type up the notes I want to save so I don’t lose them and so they don’t take up useless space at home. The remainder of the notebooks, I use for my new classes. If that doesn’t work for you and you’re dying for new school supplies, don’t go the Five Star route. Buy the cheap, store brand notebooks. They work just as well as the fancy notebooks, but are definitely on the cheaper side.