Fall 2021 BOE

The Daily Collegian's fall 2021 Board of Editors

After three straight months of classes, it’s officially the most wonderful time of year for college students — until winter break, of course.

The week of Thanksgiving break serves as an opportunity for students to enjoy some well deserved rest ahead of the final stretch of the fall semester. And while this time off provides a chance to catch up either on sleep or with friends back home, the end of November will always be a time to give thanks.

With this being the second holiday season amid the coronavirus pandemic, the things that are typically taken for granted are now at the forefront of thankful thoughts. And as the world trudges back to a sense of normality, there’s no better time than now to contemplate on what we’ve learned during these unprecedented times.

This Thanksgiving, The Daily Collegian’s Board of Editors reflects on what we’re most thankful for and highlights the things that make this holiday so special.

Jade Campos, Editor-in-Chief

As I look back on the past year, I'm so thankful for all of the friends I've made and the memories we've created along the way. I feel as if I've learned so much about myself and what I want in life from the people I surround myself with every day. I'm grateful for the vaccine that's made it possible to have a semi-normal senior year where I got to march my last home game with the Blue Band in Beaver Stadium and saved so many lives. I'm lucky for Michael who always keeps me company and takes the 5 hour drive every week to complete our friend group. And I'm especially thankful for The Daily Collegian and all of the people who make all of its moving parts work. There’s no other place I’d rather spend every single day. Also, thank you so, so much to Taylor Swift for releasing three albums since last Thanksgiving.

Rebecca Marcinko, Managing Editor

This year, and always, I’m grateful for all of the things in my life that make it more vibrant: Friends who make work not feel like work, family that serves as a constant source of love, communities that make me feel welcomed and free to be myself, creativity that makes me excited to be alive and of course, “Red (Taylor’s Version).” And at the elderly age of 22 (Taylor’s Version), I’ve learned to continue to shift my priorities toward these things.

Andrew Porterfield, Digital Managing Editor

Thanksgiving is a time to slow down, chill out and eat some good food with people you love — no, it shouldn’t be the place for heated political debates. I’m primarily thankful for my health and good spirits. It can be easy to get bogged down by current events, but I’ve been able to surround myself with positives and keep my mind right. I’m just glad I get to hang out with the people close to me. Coronavirus made it impossible, and I definitely took it for granted before the pandemic. Now, I hug my family a little tighter.

Megan Swift, News Editor

I'm thankful to be alive, and I'm thankful for food, water and shelter. So many people have it so much worse than we do, and it's so important to realize that. We complain about daily, mundane issues that wouldn't hold a candle to some other hardships we can't even imagine. I'm so happy and grateful to be alive and healthy. With life not guaranteed and the fact that we realized that at such a younger age than people normally do because of the pandemic, every single moment counts. I never want to feel regretful for spending time doing things. That's why I like to focus on things that are meaningful to me now.

Phoebe Cykosky, News Editor

Thanksgiving means many things to me — it means slowing down, reflecting on what I'm grateful for and connecting with family. Thanksgiving has always been great in my household because it really marks the beginning of the holiday season, but this year it doesn't necessarily feel like that's where we're already at. Also, this year feels like time simply doesn't exist so there's something there. I guess I would be thankful for time but also afraid of it because of how fast it is going. However, we must acknowledge the root of the holiday and what it means for others, and honestly this year it also means catching up on work because this semester has been a lot mentally, physically and academically. I’m thankful for my family, friends and the different opportunities and experiences I've had this year. I’m also thankful for all of the challenges I have gone through — because I have learned a lot the past few years — my dentist and, most importantly, the fact that the McRib is back at participating McDonald's across the country.

Zech Lambert, Sports Editor

Thanksgiving to me is a holiday to reflect on what you’re truly grateful for, and getting together with family is a great way to do it. I’m thankful for good health, a loving family and friends. On top of that, I’m thankful for the opportunities that’ve been provided for me at school and through various clubs. I’m thankful for the medical advances that allow us to keep people in our family and community safe.

Luke Vargas, Sports Editor

I'm thankful for my vitality. I'm constantly reminded that good health is not a given. The air in my lungs is a blessing. To see a road ahead of me and envision the promise of a road to run and stretch my body to its purpose rather than see an empty path unable to be traveled — this is at the heart of my gratitude. I'm grateful for the things made essential to this life; essential to the wholeness that accompanies joy, peace and hope (virtues that I’m ever grateful to have known in fullness and ever evolving splendor). I'm grateful for the electric simplicity of a smile; the warmth of a full, genuine laughter; and the sacredness of eye contact. I'm grateful for people: to share this life with others. I'm grateful for the little community I have. I'm thankful for the ability to give of myself, to sacrifice what little I have in power — the ultimate purpose of life.

Max Ralph, Football Editor

I would say Thanksgiving means family to me. I have so many great memories of staying at my grandma's house around the holidays and spending time with extended family. I play pool with my cousins and we used to watch “Elf” like every Thanksgiving as a tradition. That's usually what comes to mind. I have so much to be thankful for this year. I want to be thankful for just where I am today. What I get to do at school, the opportunity to attend Penn State, to work at The Daily Collegian and cover the football team, to be healthy and have food to eat. There's just so much to take a step back and look at and really understand that it's special, and I don't want to take that for granted. I think I'm more thankful for the people around me as a result of the pandemic. The relationships I've been able to build with my friends this year have been second to none. I really just want to appreciate how much I have in this world and how much the people around me matter to me.

Courtney Benedetto, Lifestyle Editor

Thanksgiving, for me, is all about spending time with my family. Every year it’s just so nice to see my grandparents, aunts and uncles after a stressful few months of school. We always get together to eat, play card games and catch up after a while of not seeing each other. I’m thankful for my family’s overall health and well-being, my friends for always being there for me and I’m just grateful for everything I have right now. I’m lucky to be at Penn State, to have supportive parents and to enjoy what I do every day. Since the pandemic, I think I appreciate the little things more. Any time that I can spend with my grandparents and extended family, I cherish it so much more. I missed my family so much during quarantine, and now with the vaccine out and the levels of the virus slowing, I feel more at ease being around them. It’s still not perfect, but now I’m extra grateful for my family’s health.

Kit Schroder, Lifestyle Editor

I feel like this Thanksgiving, and the last, my perspective on thankfulness has shifted a tiny bit. Before our world of normalcy was hit, I would often say the same answers: family, friends, food and good health — something like that. While those are all still very prevalent, this Thanksgiving I feel as though I’ve been able to really zero in and recognize the details of these aspects of my life and what they mean to me. Getting my first year of college stripped could make it seem like everything in the world was ending, but I feel like the pandemic taught me to be thankful for the moments I’m now able to spend with my family who is growing up and moving on from childhood, and when I get that opportunity to experience time slowed down with them like that like we did in those few months — such as during these holidays — I’m filled with an overwhelmed feeling of gratitude. In addition to this, being with friends from school and soaking up every moment with them is like nothing else, and I could never not want to stop and appreciate that as well. Of course, I’ll always be thankful for my good health in this time, but being surrounded by people who I can watch thrive in their own lives is all I could possibly ask for after that was almost taken from us.

Joe Eckstein, Opinion Editor

In cliche fashion, Thanksgiving to me revolves around family. As great as it is to take a step away from classwork for the week, being able to spend quality time with those I love makes for one of my favorite holidays. Whether it be over eating or questioning why the Detroit Lions play every Thanksgiving, I always look forward to a day for giving thanks. Of course, I’m thankful for my mom and dad, the two people who I’m thankful for the other 364 days of the year. I’m also grateful for the chance to work at The Daily Collegian, as I not only have been able to grow as a journalist but also have met an incredible group of people who make coming into the office the highlight of my day. Amid the coronavirus, I’ve learned to become more thankful for my health and the great relationships I have with friends and family. I often overlooked the simple things that many people have lost out on as a result of the pandemic, and I try my best to realize how lucky I am to have these things and more.

Lily LaRegina, Photo Editor

I don't love the historical reasons for why Thanksgiving is celebrated, so the holiday's importance to me is not related to the "happy pilgrims and Indians" narrative that a lot of us grew up with. But I do like that there’s a specific day meant for gratitude and reflection on one's blessings. Personally, I have a lot to be thankful for, so having a time that is set aside to remember, appreciate and recognize these privileges is nice. I think everyone could use more reminders to think about what they're thankful for, and if Thanksgiving is at least one time where people do so, then that's one pro to the holiday. I'm thankful for my family and friends. Simple as that. It's the people who are present in one's life that really make or break the whole life experience. And luckily I have some pretty awesome people in mine. The pandemic has heightened my gratitude for good health, for others as well as myself. I'm also more grateful for a lot of my personal relationships as the pandemic led me to strengthen many relationships, which have highlighted the past year and a half.

Ben McClary, Multimedia Editor

Thanksgiving, to me, represents a moment to reflect (as cheesy as that sounds). Not necessarily in terms of literally thinking of what I'm thankful for but rather just a general period where I'm on break, have less to do and can kind of evaluate where I am in life, how the year has been and where my mental state is at. This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the experiences and opportunities I have had. I feel very grateful to have friends, work and to live in a situation that’s making me happy. It's a huge contrast from a year ago when I was remote and living at home. I think this year I’m more aware of the value of people and being around good people. The coronavirus forced me to be away from lots of people and to be alone for a while at home, so to have this community of friends and colleagues at Penn State who I like and are supportive — it's something I’m not taking for granted.

Sophia Montanye, Multimedia Editor

To me, Thanksgiving is a time to spend lots of quality time with family. Everyone takes the time to catch up with everyone's lives and see if everyone is doing alright. The big meal and everyone sitting together and talking is a very special and fun annual experience for me. This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that my immediate family has been in good health and that my siblings seem to be happy and thriving in each of their individual activities. I'm also thankful that my whole family will be together on the holiday and we can just have uninterrupted quality time together. I'm thankful for the family I’m still able to see at this time. This is my first holiday season without my grandfather who I was very close to, and I only got to see once throughout the pandemic, so the atmosphere of the holidays will probably be much different this year. But that being said, it makes me even more appreciative of the time I have with those who are still with me, and I will definitely be more thoughtful and thankful for my time with family this year.

Daily Collegian Opinion Editor Joe Eckstein can be reached at jce5179@psu.edu.

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