KINGSTON, R.I. — Nov. 23, 2020 — Each of these–an unrelenting pandemic, a struggling economy, racial injustice and a frightening election season–would be reason enough to discourage even the most stouthearted.
But as the University of Rhode Island community approaches Thanksgiving, several students talk about why they are grateful. We offer their comments below and hope they bolster your spirits as the holiday season begins.
“In the midst of all that is going on in the world right now, with Thanksgiving approaching I am reminded of all of the blessings I have. I am reminded that I am on my way to earning my degree, thanks to URI. I am reminded that I have the opportunity to work during these times. I am reminded that I have a beautiful home and a healthy, loving family.” Adrianna Cafarella, senior nursing major, Little Compton, Rhode Island
“I think the most important thing I am grateful for is being where I am today. For being healthy, for being surrounded by so much love, my family and friends, my parents, and so much more! I feel like in times like this, I do not take the time to step back and realize how blessed I am. I am always trying to plan for the future to make sure that I am successful later on in life when in reality, I just need to take a breather and realize that I’ve made it this far and I can ‘relax’ and live a little. As for my parents, I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for me leading up to now. I promise to make them proud! As hard and stressful as it gets, I HAVE to and I WILL do it for them!” Kassidy Khiv, biological sciences major on pre-physician assistant track, Class of 2024, Providence, Rhode Island
“I am thankful that my friends and family are healthy during this time and that I was given the opportunity to work at CVS Pharmacy as a health care worker learning to administer COVID tests.” Victoria Mock, health studies major, Long Island, New York
“This year I am grateful for the community. Even though things might be on a digital platform or masked, it’s nice to be able to engage with others in some way. Especially in the theatre department, I find that we thrive on being a team and being able to connect with everyone again under these circumstances is such a great thing to be thankful for.” Emma Becker, senior theater major (acting and management), Tiverton, Rhode Island
“2020 was a tough year, but I am grateful for that as well. The tough year put things in perspective. It made me understand what is important and what should be appreciated. I am grateful for my friends being real to me and all the blessings from God even when things got hard.” Ho Shing Lee, junior film major, Hong Kong
“I am thankful that URI has given me so many opportunities to learn in and outside of the classroom despite what’s going on in the world. As a nursing major, real-world experience is so important and I’m so appreciative of all URI has done to keep a sense of normalcy in these unprecedented times.” Dominique Dufour, senior nursing major, Little Compton, Rhode Island
“This year I am thankful for things that I’m always thankful for: my family, friends and my two dogs, Kevin & Wasabi! But on top of that, I am specifically thankful for my good health, which isn’t something I mention every year, but I think it is necessary to mention that this year.” Ugene Sano, senior, doctor of pharmacy program, Houston, Texas
“I am beyond lucky and thankful to be back at URI! Also that me, my friends and family are healthy and happy during these pressing times.” Ryann Malsbury, textiles, merchandising and design major, public relations minor, Westchester, New York
“I am thankful that I got to be at school this semester and be with my supportive and amazing best friends!” Chloe Sheehan, textiles, merchandising and design major, Norfolk, Massachusetts
“Thankful for having both friends and family in good health during this time.” Morgan Sullivan, communications major, business minor, North Haven, Connecticut
“This year has presented its fair share of challenges. The complications of a pandemic and the arousal of several worldwide protests are but a fraction of these troubles. However, they have allowed me to realize the incredible ability of humans to adapt and overcome in unprecedented times. That is why I am increasingly grateful for my loved ones as Thanksgiving approaches. I pray that we sustain the strength needed to strive through these challenges.” Afua Adutwum, Class of 2024, education major on pre-med track, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
“I’m very thankful for still having the opportunity to learn and attend school via virtual learning during this time. I am also thankful for the free testing URI provides for students at their leisure!” Erin Callan, senior communications and public relations major, Little Compton, Rhode Island
“This quarantine has given the time and opportunity for me to grow mentally and spiritually. Even though I can’t meet anyone under normal circumstances, I am still grateful to be able to see friends and even learn new things in class. This pandemic has taught me to be more grateful for simple things that people would take for granted such as being alive and healthy, and experiencing the love from my family and loved ones.” Peace Oneyeme, junior theater and film double major, Nigeria
“In such crazy times and such a crazy year 2020 has been, the things I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving are my health, my family and their health, having a roof over my head, and food on the table every day. I am also thankful to be able to attend school, and excel in my courses, and continue to practice the piano. I am also thankful to be able to have a warm meal on Thanksgiving at my dining room table with my family, and have some delicious apple pie with vanilla ice cream!” Jordan Cardona, junior theatre (acting) major, Johnston, Rhode Island
“I am thankful for the support of my friends, family and the URI staff in these challenging times.” Juliet Lenzo, nursing major, South Kingstown, Rhode Island
“I am thankful for having a healthy family and the vaccine breakthroughs.” Kaleigh Cavanaugh, cell and molecular biology major, Monson, Massachusetts
“I am thankful for being able to financially afford college. This not only includes my education itself but my housing, food, and free-time activities. Being a senior, I am able to look back and be grateful for the past four years and all of the money that has been put toward my degree. I think sometimes we take this opportunity for granted, not everyone can afford the experience we share and it is definitely a milestone to be thankful for.” Claudia Harrington, textiles, merchandising and design major, Braintree, Massachusetts
Note: All photos of students were taken by themselves in socially distant settings.
Gianna Cardarelli, Lauren Poirier and Edhaya Thennarsu, interns in URI’s Department of Marketing and Communications, contributed to this story.