Gratitude word cloud

What we’re thankful for in this season of gratitude.

November is always a particularly stressful, busy time of the year at a college. The semester is at the height of its frenzy. (So many papers, exams, meetings, projects—all coming to a head at once!)

But the stress folks are currently feeling is not limited to those of us in education. People around the US and all over the world are tired, worried and tense.

In addition to the usual stressors of modern life, many of us are deeply troubled about what’s been happening in Israel and Gaza—as well as other devastating humanitarian crises and conflicts around the globe. There is additional stress and sorrow layered onto our collective psyche right now.

Finding Light in the Darkness

Holiday photos from different cultures

It doesn’t help that it’s now completely dark outside when we leave work. There’s precious little time to be outside and take in any sunshine at this time of year. If we don’t make a concerted effort to see the light around us, things can start to seem truly bleak.

Even in times of strife, each of us also has things we can, and should, be thankful for. I find these are actually pretty easy to recognize these days when thinking about other people in our community and around the world who are struggling and suffering.

This can be as simple as taking a moment to be grateful for a warm meal, noticing a smile from a stranger or appreciating the roof over your head on a rainy day.

Practicing Gratitude Is Good for You

Research suggests that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” It assists us in dealing with stress. According to this article from the Harvard Medical School, gratitude helps people to:

  • feel more positive emotions
  • relish good experiences
  • improve their health
  • deal with adversity
  • build strong relationships

Who wouldn’t want all that?

Two FRCC employees smiling at the camera

A Little Help From My Friends

With these thoughts in mind, I went to my colleagues around Front Range Community College for some assistance and guidance. I asked them to send in their thoughts explaining what they’re thankful for this fall. The idea was to pool our collective gratitude to boost all of our outlook as we head into the coldest, darkest months of the year.

A group of FRCC employees sitting around a table talking and smiling.

Some co-workers simply sent in a single word or a short sentence. Others had more full-fledged ideas to express. All came across as truly sincere in their appreciation for what life has given us, despite the daily challenges.

With the long holiday weekend almost upon us, here are the results of FRCC’s virtual brainstorm—which highlights just a handful of the many things we have to be grateful for.

We Are Thankful For…

Meaningful Work

FRCC employee in blue shirt with big smile

No matter how hard things are right now, I am thankful to FRCC for being a wonderful place to work. We really are so fortunate to have the opportunity to change the lives of our students and have our lives changed by them.

I’m thankful for my job at FRCC.

I am thankful for my colleagues here at Front Range. Their friendliness, selflessness, and tenacity play a vital role in achieving our mission of serving students exceptionally well at the college.

I am thankful for committed educators who work tirelessly to help our students persist.

Human Connections

FRCC employee in glasses smiling at the camera

I’m grateful for moments where I connect with another person, either a dear friend or someone I just met – where we each find the same thing funny or meaningful.

I am grateful for my family and colleagues.

I am grateful to be part of the HR team at FRCC where the daily focus is always on lifting each other up, celebrating the wins of others, and supporting the college community.

Home and Family

I am always grateful that I am able to watch my kids grow up and become amazing individuals. I am grateful for ten years of marriage with my husband, and all the love and growth that come with it.

For a roof over my head and food to eat.

Colorful Colorado

I’d like to express my gratitude for the plentiful natural areas in Fort Collins and our access to parks (local/state/National). Additionally, I’m grateful for the 300+ days of sunshine Colorado gets.

FRCC leadership team seated at a table smiling

I’m grateful that we live in a beautiful area.

I am grateful for how beautiful our campus looks in the fall.

The incredible natural beauty all around us.

Thank YOU

And lastly, dear reader, I appreciate you for taking the time to scroll through this compilation of our joint gratitude. THANK YOU for that—and for all you do that makes our world a place worth being grateful for.

I hope you have time this weekend to think about what you’re thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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