As Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of several friends who have told me stories recently about how they feel undervalued and/or unappreciated. Surprisingly enough, when I ask what would make them feel more appreciated…the typical answer is, “Just a ‘thank you’ would be nice.” Is it really that hard to say thank you? Why don’t we do it more? I know I am guilty of not being the best at expressing my thanks, even though I am very thankful for so much, and so many people, in my life. I need to work on it.
As you go through your life and your days at college are there people making your college experience better? People who are supporting and caring about you and your success? When I think about college life, I can think of a few examples of people who may feel underappreciated but who are there to make a difference for students…and probably would appreciate a thank you or an acknowledgement that they are having an impact:
1) Professors: Pick one who has been especially inspiring and be specific in sharing why you appreciate them as a professor.
2) Parents/Family Members: We often take our family for granted. Say thank you to someone who is supporting you and helping make your college experience a reality.
3) Scholarship providers: Did you get a scholarship for college? Or lots of scholarships for college? Send a note to the person/organization and thank them for their financial support. We provide numerous scholarships through NSCS and, sadly, we rarely get a thank you or an update on how the scholarship is helping the recipient meet their academic goals.
4) Academic Advisors: Most academic advisors will tell you they love their job because they love helping students be successful, but they are often stretched for time and resources. A quick thank you can be reassuring that the reason they love their job is resonating and actually making a difference.
5) Resident Assistants: Your RA works really hard to make your residence hall experience as great as possible. Too often, the good hearted RA gets roped into being a strict rules enforcer, but this is never the reason someone wants to be an RA; they want to help you and have a positive impact on your experience. Say thank you and it will mean so much!
6) Organization Advisors: Are you involved in a club, organization, honor society, etc? If so, there is a faculty or staff person who volunteers time to make that experience better for you. They are typically doing this alongside all of their “real” professional obligations and saying thank you is a boost that the extra time they spend is worth the effort.
Who are other people who come to mind for you that need a thank you?? Why don’t you use Thanksgiving as a catalyst to drop off a card or shoot an email just to say thank you. You will definitely brighten their day and, honestly, there is no downside to acknowledging and showing gratitude. A simple thank you may only be two words, but it can have a powerful and validating impact. We all have the power to share two words and make a difference. Right??