The end of November is one of those rare transition periods in Harvard’s academic calendar. The dregs of midterm season have finally subsided, and reading period is still somewhat out of sight. This leaves students with a hint of a lull in their normally tumultuous schedules, giving them time for half a week off from their daily routines.
Luckily, thanks to a historic proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, this spell coincides with America’s recognition of Thanksgiving Day. This period away from the constant tumult of Harvard life offers students the opportunity to eat turkey, spend time with family, and watch the Detroit Lions lose another Turkey Day game. It also provides ample time for reflection on the aspects of our lives for which we are thankful.
In addition to a respite from schoolwork and President Lincoln’s heroic feats, we have many things to be grateful for, both at Harvard and in the U.S. at large.
A week after the conclusion of Undergraduate Council election season, it remains difficult to forget the high turnout that marked this year’s race. This demonstrates the strength of the civic spirit here on campus and reminds us of the values that characterize our nation. Earlier this month, America voted in its 57th presidential election, reflecting a tradition that has yet to falter in our 236-year history. At a time when other nations contest and change their leadership in woefully chaotic fashions, it is particularly important to remember the fortunate position in which this nation currently finds itself.
That the Harvard community demonstrates a concerted sense of civic responsibility is but one manifestation of our vibrant community, for which we are equally grateful. This month, students have eagerly participated not only in campus-wide and national elections, but also in the annual Harvard-Yale football game, the highly-anticipated appointment of new leadership to Harvard’s many student organizations, and countless other campus activities. We are very thankful for the energy fostered here on campus. While many students take advantage of the break to return home and reconnect with old friends, few would trade in their experiences here in Cambridge. This is a sign of the vibrancy of Harvard life.
As Thanksgiving break ends, one cannot help but look earnestly toward the next break. Some consider it the light at the end of the finals tunnel. Fortunately, winter break is rapidly approaching, and this year it is something to be particularly thankful for. In its efforts to increase Wintersession programming, the College has extended the break a full week. We look forward to the upcoming period of prolonged tranquility that is so often absent from Harvard life.
As classes resume and homework is collected, it is important to keep in mind all that we have to be thankful for. College can be a time of stress and frustration. Yet even oft-stressful Harvard life is not without its splendor, and we are deeply thankful for the all that it continues to offer.