By Sophia Salamanca

Advice to Josh: What to Be Thankful For

This Thanksgiving, we asked our editors to help out a perennially confused forever freshman: what can Josh be thankful for?
By FM Staff

It’s November once again: the turkeys are strutting down the bike lanes of Mass. Ave; pumpkin spice is coming out of hibernation in a very real way; the rushed few weeks of the syllabus before finals are coming. The foliage is darling, but it’s pitch-black out by 6 p.m. As we trudge through these last weeks before Thanksgiving break, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what’s important — and we can’t let Josh, our beloved forever freshman, get stuck in a rut again. So, FM asked our editors: what can Josh be thankful for?


Every once in a while, that peculiar feeling will bubble up to the surface of your life — the realization that you have lost some sense of direction, that you must desperately cling to something, anything, that will tether you to the ground. In these moments, try to take notice of that which is reliable. The sun will still rise and fall, the wind will still rattle the tree outside your window, the crack on the sidewalk will stay right where it is, the taste of your favorite Trader Joe’s snack will never surprise you. This Thanksgiving, be grateful for the simple constancy around you. Thank the world for all of its dependable little things, Josh. Thank the world for what remains when all else fails.

— Associate Magazine Editor Michal Goldstein can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @bymgoldstein.

Be thankful for Berryline, bong, and Joan Didion.

— Associate Magazine Editor Maya M. F. Wilson can be reached at

Be thankful for the rotating menu of JP Licks flavors, parties where people dance a lot and talk a little, slippers, mugs, sleeping in, long mornings, scalding showers, the best friend character in TV shows, shea butter, soft bed sheets, pee by laughter, afternoon snacks.

— Magazine Editor-at-Large Josie F. Abugov can be reached at

Be thankful for family; for the times we have shared, and for the times yet to come.

— Associate Magazine Editor Harrison R. T. Ward can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @HarrisonRTWard.

Be thankful for Harvard dining halls, a luxury you’ll miss as soon as you start to cook your own food. Apart from the trustworthy supply of boom boom sauce, personalized grille orders, and the expansive ingredients available at the salad bar, there is something beautiful about the chance to sit and eat with friends who tirelessly hold space for you.

— Associate Magazine Editor Akila V. Muthukumar can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @akila29m.

Be thankful for the unsung heroes, the quotidian saints — grandmothers, teaching assistants, cashiers — whose efforts make it possible for you to dream. Take comfort in this feeling of indebtedness; it is evidence of our endless capacity for generosity.

— Magazine Chair Maliya V. Ellis can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @EllisMaliya.

Be thankful for the little joys around you — wispy brushstroke clouds, flower buds brimming with potential, the crunch of autumn leaves. Be thankful for companionable silences, belly laughs, conversations about anything and everything. Be thankful for our capacity to love, to hold joy and warmth in our bodies. And be thankful for yourself; for all your body has carried you through, for all your mind has dreamed of and overcome.

— Associate Magazine Editor Kaitlyn Tsai can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @kaitlyntsaiii.

This Thanksgiving, Josh, be grateful for the coming cold. I know, I know. I love sunny, 70-degree days as much as anyone. But, there are so many beautiful things only the cold allows — crisp snowflakes, the embrace of warm wool sweaters and scarves, deep breaths of frigid air that touch the back of your throat and clear your mind. And, perhaps, best of all: the welcoming puff of warm air as you pry open your door on a cold winter night. You’re greeted by your friends, their voices rising over the reliable murmur of your radiator. In that moment, you feel home.

— Associate Magazine Editor Io Y. Gilman can be reached at

Be thankful for pasta, Remy, and the newly re-opened Harvard cafés (thanks, Kim Smith).

— Associate Magazine Editor Amber H. Levis can be reached at

Be thankful for the dumb shit: scratch-and-sniff stickers. Sweaters on dogs. Crab rangoon. The fun facts on Snapple caps, the puns on the Bartley’s chalkboard. Hallmark movies and pickleball and fuzzy socks and Crocs; all the silly and wonderful things we create for each other.

— Magazine Chair Sophia S. Liang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @totalPHIAsco.

This fall, I spent most of my BoardPlus on flavored lattes: chai, pumpkin spice, mocha. And then the cashier told me I had just 10 dollars left, and I chose to savor a plain one. This year, Josh, be thankful for drip coffee and cream, half a packet of coarse sugar that still dissolves even if you don’t have time to stir it before running off to class. When everything around you seems unsteady, a faithfulness to the tried and true will keep you grounded, just like an old friend, a black turtleneck sweater, a good hug. Oh, and Stat 110 extensions — be thankful for those.

— Associate Magazine Editor Dina R. Zeldin can be reached at

Be grateful for Settlers of Catan, and for when someone sends you a meme that made them think of you. Be grateful for really good tomato sauce and really crispy bacon. And for Paddy Considine’s performance in this season of “House of the Dragon.” Be grateful for section buddies — the most underrated genre of friend. Be grateful for GPS technology, because, let’s face it Josh, you and I are too incompetently Gen-Z to drive a car and read a map at the same time. Be grateful for early Taylor Swift and late Beatles. Be grateful for morning’s dynamic duo: coffee and a little pastry. And for evening’s: beer and the crossword. Be grateful for that one pot that’s the perfect size to make the right amount of pasta. And for Eggos just out of the toaster. And for the double phone call scene in “When Harry Met Sally.” And express this gratitude, Josh, earnestly and often, even after November is over.

— Associate Magazine Editor Sarah W. Faber can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @swfaber.

This Thanksgiving, be thankful for a Mariah Carey Christmas.

— Associate Magazine Editor Meimei Xu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MeimeiXu7.

Be thankful for those rare moments when your world stops spinning so quickly — when you’re walking through the yard, admiring the fall foliage; when you’re knitting a sweater; when you’re sharing a meal with a dear friend; when the present feels as sweet and slow as syrup.

— Associate Magazine Editor Saima S. Iqbal can be reached at

Be thankful for the people who think of you when you are far away. For unexpected postcards and spontaneous FaceTime calls. For “good morning” and “goodnight” and “just you wait til i tell you about —.” For the most routine acts of remembering. For love that knows the distance and goes the distance.

— Associate Magazine Editor Mila G. Barry can be reached at

Josh, sometimes it will feel like nothing in the dining hall tastes the way it’s supposed to. That you can’t possibly eat another Red’s Best Catch. That everything is spiraling out of control — why are they making beef fajita pasta again? Even the potstickers have let you down. And in those times, you must turn to the one thing that, despite it all, is always consistent: potatoes. You must be thankful for that perfect golden crunch, the buttery fluff. You must treasure them all: the freshly fried tater tot, the crisp hash browns, the delicate sweet potato fries. Their savory warmth is the one thing that can liven a dreary day in the dead of winter. Whenever you’re having a rough day, Josh, you can always order fries from the grille and feel whole again. And that is something to be thankful for.

— Associate Magazine Editor Tess C. Kelley can be reached at Follow her on Instagram @potatoesofHUDS.

Know that people love you and choose to love them back: If this is work it’s a good kind, and the world moves so fast. Make these moments big enough to rest in.

— Associate Magazine Editor Benjy Wall-Feng can be reached at Follow them on Twitter @wallfeng.