Tired and Grateful: Thankful for the Chance to Work Hard

In six days—yes I am counting!—I will be fling home for Thanksgiving, and the season’s got me thinking about what I am grateful for. And what I realized, strange as it may seem, is that I am grateful for the chance I have been given to work my butt off. I have worked harder academically this semester than I think I can ever remember working. I have read hundreds of pages of complex social theory, history and politics. I have had to think deeply and critically every day. It’s been really, really hard.
And I’d like to say thank you for it.
I love to learn. I get a natural high from complex conversations. And this semester I have been given the chance to learn a great deal, and see the connections between things that I never would have before.
One of my courses, the Latin American Travel Seminar on Cuba, is not generally marketed to sophomores. I’s an upper level course usually reserved for juniors and seniors, because it’s such a heavy workload. I begged the professor, who I had for a history class last year, to let me in.
“You’ll have to work hard. Really hard. It will be your hardest class, and probably harder than anything else you’ll have taken here,” he said.
He was right, of course. It dos have more reading than any other class I have ever had here at UPS, but the readings are so interesting I don’t mind. I pause halfway through my readings as I sit in my living room, my favorite yellow highlighter in hand, and read passages out loud o my housemate and best friend, saying, “isn’t that awesome?” She usually says yes and then reminds me that she is studying too and therefore cannot be interrupted to hear about my homework.
This is what college si about, I think. Finding something you are passionate about and giving yourself to it. I love being a student, because my role in society is to explore ideas.
And that is a wonderful gift. Not everyone will receive that gift, and I recognize that I am privileged to be at an institution where I can be challenged, and to have professors who care enough to push me to be a better writer and thinker. All of my professors, not just the Cuba ones, have helped me to grow this semester and given me the personalized attention that I hoped for when I came to UPS. They’ve given m access to books, movies and articles that have broadened my horizons, and then talked to me about those things as I developed thoughts and opinions about them.
I’m so lucky to have that. So this Thanksgiving, among all the other things I will say thank you for, I am going to make sure to send out thanks for the heavy textbooks and the long nights.

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About cmobrien

I'm a Sophomore here at UPS, from the SF Bay Area. I love to write, read and learn, , as well as anything I can do outside. I am involved on campus with various clubs and activist groups and write for the Trail. When I'm not reading for class (which most of the time I am) I can be found on a yoga mat, writing poetry or on a hike. I caught the travel bug young and love seeing new places.