In 1944, amidst the height of World War II, renowned American singer Bing Crosby recorded “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” a catchy and uplifting ballad about the importance of attitude. The song inspires us to four main goals: accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.
As we gear up for Thanksgiving this week, some of us prepare to flip on our gratitude switch for the first time all year. Unfortunately, that can mean we turn up a little rusty. For some college students, stressful Thanksgiving circumstances, such as relative feuds or readjusting to briefly living with family, can make us itch to return to campus rather than hear another reason to be grateful at the dinner table. That doesn’t make us bad people — it’s simply easier to see the negatives accentuated in our limited vision. Despite its importance, being grateful does not always come naturally, but practicing the wise advice of Bing Crosby can help us re-envision our surroundings as perfectly timely.
When I first realized that my birthday was on a Saturday this year, I panicked.
Having a birthday so early on in the school year is both a blessing and a curse, especially freshman year — not enough time for the workload to get too tough yet just enough time for everyone to get into their rhythm academically and, more dauntingly, socially. Making friends is already a difficult endeavor with such a large pool of people, each diverse in their own way. The pressure to do so quickly and effortlessly makes the process even harder.
I love seeing the confusion that flashes through the eyes of a straight white man as he tries to decide what aspect of my identity to attack first. Should he go with the tried and true misogyny, or sneer at my caramel skin? Or perhaps he should settle for the low-hanging fruit and comment on my hijab.
I’ve never considered myself a foodie, but I can’t deny that eating is one of my favorite activities. There’s something special about sharing a hot meal with people who equally warm your heart. Back home, my sister and I always gorge on homemade meals together over laughter-filled conversations or purposeless movies. Our meals together are some of my favorite memories and one of the things I was most afraid to let go of when preparing for my move to college. I did, however, feel comforted by the flood of anecdotes I heard about the unique freshmen dining experience at Annenberg which I hoped would fill the void.
I never realized how much of home I would actually miss in the dining hall. Whereas before, I could always count on my mother’s comforting food to make me feel at home after a long day, I am now always struggling to find comfort from the once-reliable friend I call food.
My first few weeks of college have been a whirlwind of emotions: awe at the beautiful campus, excitement to meet my suitemates, nerves to leave my family for the first time. And of course, buried underneath everything, doubt that I would be able to handle the transition.