55 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. Growing up I’d like to say my parents did a pretty good job. I’m polite and have manners at all times. Being nice and doing good things for other people did not seem like a punishment or as if I was going out of my way. It felt like it was the right way to do it, the only way. Personally I cannot be mean to someone and not feel bad about it. Of course I have my moments, i’m human but because the way I am it’s irrefutable for me to keep things as is. For an example if someone stepped on my shoes I would say it’s fine but if I was in a bad mood and snapped on them, I would immediately apologize. Having gratitude comes natural to me as well. If I have never met someone in my life what would be the need for me to be mean and nasty towards them. That same person can possibly change my life for the better or worse depending on how I handle myself towards them. The way I see it gratitude goes a long way in life, and it’s never too late to start.

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    • I agree with you on how gratitude does go a long way. Having a good attitude towards others can really make an effect on their day or even just themselves even if it’s the smallest gesture. Also the way that you put yourself out to others can really show others the person that you are. It’s like the saying “what goes around comes around” when you do something good for others, good things come back and also goes the same way if it’s in a negative way, just like good and bad karma.

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    • Being alive is something that most of us take for granted. Everyday we expect to wake up and just expect to live a another day of life, but this illusion is shattered when something in our life happens to remind us that are lives are quite in fact very fragile. I learned this the hard way when I was twelve years old I contracted lyme disease and carried it unknowingly for months which caused a spinal infection that swelled up my brain. I went to the hospital after I started to have severe headaches. I had to spend a week in the hospital were my parents spent everyday with me while I had done several painful tests while doctors were trying to figure out what I had. I had to spend three weeks receiving antibiotics, which I received through a tube they surgically put near my heart so I could quickly receive the antibiotics. I came to find out that if I had waited only a few more hours to go to the hospital I would have likely had stroke due to my brain being swelled. Having a situation like this made me realize that are lives are precious and that we have to appreciate everyday that we are given on earth which is something that I live by everyday of my life, which motivates me to work hard everyday to achieve my goals.

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      • I completely agree with you, we often take for granted what we have in our lives up until it is nearly taken away from us. In fact, over the past few years I have been trying to better myself in the same way after finding myself wanting more when I was not fully appreciating everything I had been able to bring into my life already. Hopefully in the near future more of us will be able to be grateful for every little small aspect in life rather than only the more expensive, materialistic aspects of life.

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  2. Arriving at Cairo International airport, I had no idea the experience that laid ahead of me. Spending only a short time there, I was pushed to see the world in a different way and learn to appreciate the privilege that I have; living in America. My parents worked hard to give me all I needed in life, so I never really wrapped my head around the idea that there were people in this world that didn’t have much food to eat or a place to stay. My first day there, two kids around the age of 5 or 6 approached me in the street and offered to clean my shoes for money. On a different day I saw children less than fifteen years old lugging around rusty metal parts for little money. Some of these kids were working in order to help buy food for their family. Seeing the people of Egypt living in squalor, really opened my eyes to being grateful for the life I have. My mindset coming out of this trip drastically changed. Understanding that my parents had to leave their families and go out of their comfort zone for my sister and I, made me more determined to work hard to achieve my goals. Knowing how fortunate I am, motivated me to seize the opportunities provided to me, that I would not have had in Egypt.

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    • Hi Mark, and yes, it is pretty fortunate that our lives are not in the current states like those struggling with poverty, quite unfortunately for their class and their immobility in ranks that is tough to alter. It is great to see that the today you was set forth due to an effort ensuring your better rates of success. The efforts that were pushed surely resembles the outcomes and the necessities. In more rural areas, they are not as populated as urban areas and some are often segregated due to stuff like ethnicity/race, resulting in lower funding for that area; this is what is creating the difference between the perspectives regarding lifestyles that get structured by these various forms of segregation. It is really important to obtain the perspectives of many different influences as they arise from different subcultures in which their norms can vary a lot more than others, or can be risen by certain situations. Having these perspectives in mind surely expands our view on the world and the state where the people are set to do in their respective culture or situation.

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    • I can completely relate to your personal experience. My parents also left their native country to pursue a better future in America. Listening to their first hand accounts of living in a underdeveloped country over the years has made appreciate the life I lead and for all of their sacrifice. Ultimately, my parents journey to the U.S. has inspired me to do my best and achieve whatever goals I set.

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      • We truly don’t understand the value of something until we no longer have it. I would have never understood the struggle most families have to go through until I saw it for myself. My parents had to give up everything in Egypt (family, friends, jobs, etc), and begin a whole new life for my sister and I. That to me is something remarkable.

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    • I really like the message that this story has. This teaches people to open their eyes and be grateful for what they have but to also help other people in need.

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  3. It is important to cherish those who make us happy. Sometimes we may take things or people for granted and whatever it is that they are doing becomes normalized. We begin to appreciate them less over time. But this should not be the case, it is important that their kindness is recognized and that we make it aware to them that they are appreciated. As we move on to the next chapter of our lives, many of us will be moving away from home. Some of us will greatly miss those who supported us right from the beginning, and others will never feel homesick. Whatever the case may be, it is important that we let them know how much of an impact they have on us. They might not have done anything life changing for you, but it often the little things that count. So remember with all the buzz of excitement for what’s to come next to meet up one last time with your friends before you see each other again, to spend time with your annoying but loveable family, to give your parents the last few hugs that they need as much as you. Write a thank you note to your favorite teacher that you just could not have made it through school without. Whoever it is that makes you happy, be sure to let them know how much they mean to you, even if it’s something small. And most of all just be happy that you are able to have such amazing people in your life.

    “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

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    • I agree with this. At least for me, my social circle only grew smaller and smaller during my four years of college as I started to understand the true meaning of trust. However, there was always a special few of people that actually showed empathy and the only true time I said “Thank You” to them was when I graduated. Now, at the end of each day, I’ll write down my appreciations of the day, whether it’s a particular thing or person; if it’s a person, I’ll let them know as soon as I can. This helps me maintain positive vibrations in my life.

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    • I resonate with the message in this post quite a bit. I think its important to reassure people that you are close to that you appreciate them and I feel that this small act is a big step in maintaining long lasting friendships. The amount of unrecognized work that people have put into making you who you are is often vast. Friends and family should be kept in your thoughts, and they should be aware of the importance they have to you.

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  4. I have been living with my family in a peaceful community all my life, surrounded by friendly, well-behaved neighbors. All these people living around me have influenced my beliefs and the way I look at the world today.
    The most important thing that I learned from my parents was to respect the elders at all times. They also taught me to be honest and friendly towards people of all ages, regardless of their race and religion. We have all kinds of celebration all year round, which we enjoy with our neighbors to our heart’s content. Living in such a lively community, I learned to cherish social relations with people of all kinds at all times.
    During vacations, I dedicate myself to volunteering works in order to help underprivileged children from poor socio-economic background. Feeding the poor and educating their children has taught me to never forget about the homeless ones who are struggling to earn a living.
    Growing up with my friends and cousins, I learned the true value of friendship, trust and teamwork. Although my grandparents passed away, I will always remember the life lessons they taught me through wise words and stories consisting of moral values.
    Living with such lovely people and an interactive community has shaped me into a better individual who strives to live better and make others’ lives better every day. All these experiences have given me an insight to what life really is, and the things in life that matters the most.

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  5. Wednesday September 7, 2016 was my first day as a high school junior. It was a day filled with new classes, teachers and peers. As I rushed into my english class while the bell rung, I was forced to sit at the only open seat which happened to be a group of girls who were strangers. However, two years later I call those five girls my best friends.
    I had a mutual friend with one of the girls, but besides that I had never met any of them. Our first interaction was a group project on propaganda which we did about animal cruelty, our love for animals is what brought us close. W begun to trust each other, venting about the day, talking about our problems and of course, our pets. We eventually made a group chat we called the “Lucas Chat” after a kitten one of the girls had adopted over the summer.
    After the group chat was made, the six of us became inseparable. In the past, I had a few close friends but this was my first solid friend group. To this day, for the past two years we have spoke or hung out everyday. The group has always been supportive of one another and always will be.
    I believe in friendship. Finding a solid group of people who are accepting, understanding and respectful has become something essential in my life. Despite the stereotype of all high school friendships ending, I am confident we will all stay close. Without these girls, my final years of high school wouldn’t have been nearly as great as they were, and I am forever thankful to them for all of the amazing memories.

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  6. I moved to the United States when I was nine years old. Before then all I knew was the small 20 square miles that made the island of Bermuda. I will forever be grateful for my parents packing up and moving from everything they knew to try and give me a better life than they had. Though moving was really hard on all of us, my parents never wanted my brother or I to feel like we didn’t belong and always made time for us in between all the chaos. While in Bermuda, living in a small apartment with hardly any yard, I asked for a dog every year for my birthday and Christmas. My parents promised me that if and when we moved to the United States that we would have a dog and a big yard for him to run around in. My parents did not break their promise and I am grateful that they showed me that if you want something bad enough and if you work hard for it, you can achieve anything. There is a lot of added pressure for me to do well in school, get a good job and do well for myself because my parents did not give up everything they had to move to a new country for me to slack off and not live up to my potential. Every assignment and test I look at differently than the kid sitting next to me. I am forever grateful of everything my parents have done and also now sending me to college to better my education.

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    • Hi Delia! This is very sweet! I love how you touched upon having different perspectives from one another, which highlights everyone’s individuality. You firsthand have seen what sacrifices your parents have made for you and your family, and the life lesson that you have received from this is priceless! Great job!

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    • I like how you see your parents as motivation to keep doing better for yourself and them because me myself I do the same. It’s great that you do everything in your power to make them proud of you.

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    • I love this and I relate so much to it!! My parents gave up everything to provide a better future for me and everytime I need motivation I just remember of them and how I want to give them back one day. They make it feel like home anywhere I go. Thank you for this, just reminds me to apreciate them more.

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  7. Compared to some, my childhood was easy. My parents had good jobs, my mom worked nights and my dad worked days, so I always had a parent home to take care of me. However, as I got older, my life changed in ways I couldn’t expect. In February of 2013, my mother passed away from a car accident, and in December of this year, a month after I turned 18, my father kicked me out. So, a few months before my high school career was set to end, I found myself homeless, and alone. It was here where I began to rely on others more and more, as I had nothing but the clothes on my back, and my backpack full of school supplies. My vocational teachers, my guidance counselors, and my friends are what got me through those tough days.
    From health insurance, to financial aid, to just giving me someone to talk to, these people made sure I got through high school. They went out of their way to get me things that I always had, but suddenly needed: a winter coat, basic hygiene products, and a place to stay when I had nowhere else to go. With their help, I grinded my way through the rest of my senior year, my college applications, and the finances required for me to continue my education.
    It was those people who I owe my life to. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. What I do know, is that I will always be greatful for the kindness and generosity I was shown in my time of need.

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    • Glad you made it through all of that. not even half way through the paragraph it seems like you have been through a lot. Not many people can say they would be able to bounce back if put in the same situation.

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  8. Every Saturday at 8:48 A.M. I walk seven minutes to the Hinsdale Public Library. A building so bursting with history, it has a civil war cannon on the lawn out front. Pulling the heavy doors open I find Tom the librarian; always inside before me looking at the notes left from the day before.

    “Want to run to the post office?” I’m asked just as I’m reaching for the little tin box where the mailbox key is kept. Jingling the keys, I think to myself “397” our mailbox number, as Tom says to me “397”. I repeat it back as a part of our routine, before heading to the post office, where the Saturday magazines and mail await me. There’s a lot of routine at the library. There are the constant Saturday regulars, a call about passes to local museums, children asking for the red, cherry-flavored lollipops that we keep behind the counter.

    This building was built in 1866, and has always been a library, a fact I have memorized as people often wander in simply wondering about the place. I love this part of the job, meeting new people, hearing their stories and telling them ours. Perusing the shelves, reading the backs of books or straightening stacks of movies, I know the purpose of libraries; they share knowledge with people. It’s a place for people who love to read, who enjoy films, a place for people to find new worlds to get lost in, a place with resources and people who are happy to help. And when I meet people here from out of town who are just passing by, or, sign new patrons up for library cards, telling them the story of the library I’m reminded of how wonderful it is that libraries exist. There is richness and knowledge in the foundation of every library, they have so much to offer their communities through the many ways they are utilized. They bring communities together, I can’t tell you the number of fascinating stories I’ve heard from people in my town who stop by the library. As technology becomes so apart of our daily lives, with ebooks and countless streaming options for movies and television, I hope we don’t lose sight of the importance of libraries and what they have to offer us.

    I believe public libraries are important parts of what makes a town special, and I’m reminded of that every Saturday at 8:48 am.

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  9. I would just like to start this not by immediately thanking someone but saying what this person has done for me first. This individual has not only pressured me and pushed me to do things I was nervous or anxious about but has truly shaped my path in life as well as the experiences I have been a part of. I was a junior in high school when my internship director told me there was a great engineering field opportunity that he thought I would be great for with the recommendation of my engineering teacher Mrs. Lambert who was also a huge impact on my life, but this isn’t about her. This person after hearing what great of an opportunity I had before me with this internship pushed me to apply for it kept me up at night working on my resume and my interview strategies. Also editing my letters and my emails and checking all my submissions to this internship which by the way was for Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Springfield engineering department. So, I am grateful to this person as they are what got me that internship which is not only a great feat, but I was also the only and first high school intern that company has ever had, and they had no regrets as to accepting me. I am grateful because they helped me get that internship but that’s just one of the most recent things they have also helped me get my driving license and helped me get though life this person is my mother “Kimberly Ann Deuso” and she has always been there for me my whole life.

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  10. It is easy to get lost in the muddle of everyday life. Between school, work, friends, hobbies, etc. People can get lost in the rush. We forget how grateful we are for the privileges of our country, our families and our positions in life.
    I am no different from the rest of us. I too lose sight of what I am grateful for, however something will always remind me. Remembering the people I have at my back gives me strength to work through any challenge. Even when they are not physically present I think of: my mom, my dad, my four older siblings, and my friends. I am grateful for: the opportunities my parents have made available, for my siblings who protect me, for my friends who listen to me.
    I am grateful for the small stuff: Homemade food, an appreciation for music and culture, an eagerness to learn. I think of those who have shared time with me, for those who have held a door, for those who simply smiled as I smiled back.

    People may be grateful for similar or polar opposite things. Though I believe we all share that warm feeling when we are reminded of what we are thankful for. Filled with glowing gratitude, it brings a smile to our faces. Reminding ourselves to find the time in our days to think, “I have much to be thankful for” will bring, for a moment, happiness from our own satisfaction with our lives.

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    • Hi Linnea, this is great thought on gratitude. I relate to this in remembering my family, and the little things that I love about them, as I’m leaving them while in college. 🙂

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  11. Growing up, the one thing I knew I was meant for was bringing change to the world, and helping others. In a complex, where fifty-six percent of the residents were on section 8, seventeen percent was project based section 8, crime and violence flowed through the lots and alleys. Witnessing a murder at the age of four, and surviving an abusive father to my mother and I, distilled vast amounts of anger. By the age of 11 I had posted myself up on the double step of my complex building at night, while my mother was working everyday to keep the roof over our head. I had begun to learn this life brings an emptiness that I cannot stand to live with. Until a deacon five years older than me took advantage of me, during Easter Liturgy, Church was my escape. By the time I reached high school, I had become bitter and regretful about my experiences. When I first learned about the Daniels Fund, I knew I had to become a scholar. One of their most crucial aspects they look for in candidates is their community involvement. Reaching out to my community, I began to understand everywhere you go, people are undergoing their own tribulations. The actions and experiences I made shaped and defined my character. Becoming a Daniels Fund Scholar showed me how crucial gratitude for my experiences are because they have brought me to where I am today; I do not regret where I am today.

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  12. Personal values that I live by is being able to express gratitude and perseverance because not everything is going to come to you easy in life. You’re always going to go through something but always show appreciation to those who have helped you through times and got you to where you needed to be. Growing up I always believed I had the most perfect family until the moment my parents separated. They usually sheltered me from knowing certain things and it would make me frustrated and confused. But now while I am continuing to mature into a young black woman I have started to realize that they sheltered me from knowing certain things because they wanted me to stay focused on school and the bright future I had ahead of me. They did not want me to be distracted from what they were going through but instead did everything that they could to keep me happy and on track to a brighter future. I am thankful for my parents and all they have done for me to get to where I am now. I am thankful for the amazing opportunities that I have experienced over the years. I was able to travel across the world and participate in many programs where I gained friendships and mentors. Although these experiences never came easy to me it has shaped me into the type of young woman I want to be.I try to encourage myself and others to strive for more because you get one step closer every time you put in the effort. My life isn’t perfect but I am thankful for the relationships I created and what I’ve learned from experiences I’ve gone through.

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  13. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie

    I started off with this quote because it speaks so much volume into my life. As a child, growing up, I was always taught to be grateful and thankful for everything. However as I entered my teenage years and started to experience some difficult challenges in my life, I begin to lose sight of what it truly means to be grateful. I am sure many people my age can relate to this; living in today’s society we can’t help but compare ourselves to everybody else. We compare our flaws, our materialistic things, our looks, our relationships and even our challenges. I didn’t realize how blinded and ungrateful I’ve become until this summer. In the month of July I took a three week trip down to Haiti. It was by far one of the best vacation trips I have ever taken. I had the opportunity of seeing the best of both worlds. I witnessed first hand the struggles that children younger me were enduring. I couldn’t help but break down into tears as I watched kids beg for money to either buy food or clothing. At that moment, my perspective on everything changed. Suddenly, everything that I have and own is just enough. I didn’t realize that despite my own personal troubles, that I was still blessed and fortunate. I took the little things for granted and being in Haiti showed me how much value these little things have such as: hot water, toothpaste, electricity, lotion, and etc.. Some things may mean so little to you but mean the world to someone else and that’s where I truly understood the meaning of gratitude. I believe gratitude is a state of mind. You can have nothing but be grateful for everything. Having that state of mind can help anyone overcome so many obstacles in their life and I am a living example.

    Overall, in all that you do, humble yourselves and be thankful for everything. We are not better than anyone else, so don’t take anything for granted because it can be gone in a split second.

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  14. I believe that you will never live a fulfilling life without being truly generous. Generosity is not something that you decide to do. It does not have anything to do with your own will. It is something that you learn in your house, from your parents and your community. It can also be rooted in your culture, in your core beliefs. It truly has to be natural. You act with generosity because you are not selfish, you think and truly care about others. I am who I am because of the generosity of my parents. They never told me, for example, that they were “sacrificing” something in order to raise me and my siblings. They just did it. We moved from Mexico in 2010 looking for a better life. They decided to get up and leave to help my siblings and I. They never believed that the United States would benefit them and how they could gain from it. Instead what we could experience and how we would prosper. They taught me that you do not give to others because you think that you will receive something back. Life itself does not “payback” your generosity. Being kind, wanting to help other people -not only your family but a complete stranger in the street- is a way of life. It makes you feel good. You should not expect anything back, you are not thinking about the future, you are doing it because you really believe that is the only way to live.

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  15. Showing gratitude is often forgotten throughout everyday life. I tend to fall into a routine and go through the motions of it without even realizing what it took to be able to fall into that routine. Simple actions such as going to work or school and coming back home everyday were once merely a dream for many. In parts of the world, still today, women are not able to work or go to school and so many people don’t have a home to come back to at the end of everyday. Having basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter are not the norm for many but rather a luxury.
    Last year, for a school research project, I was assigned to create a microbial fuel cell from mud to produce electricity. My classmates and I were given this project because, even today, there are so many in the world who do not have access to electricity. The purpose for this project was to find a different way of producing electricity so that people in different parts of the world, with more limited resources, could replicate it. Not only did this project teach me a lot about the reality of others in the world but it also made me really appreciate my own reality. Electricity is something, prior to this project, that I hadn’t recognized as something to be thankful for because I have never really been without it and that can be said for so many other things. Showing gratitude everyday even for these minor things not only helps to realize the situation of others and appreciate our own but it can and has led to people trying to find solutions to problems like these that are often overlooked.

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    • Hi Leandra, I agree that sometimes it can be easy to fall into a routine and not appreciate what we have. It is important to have gratitude and realize that we should not take things for granted.

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  16. It’s not every day that we stop and think about how lucky we are sometimes and be grateful for it. I believe that we have to have some gratitude for the things that have happened to us whether it be the small things that happen every day like winning a game or just having a good day. And the big things like having a good family or being able to go to college. We should all be grateful for the good things that happen to us because not everyone has the same luck or things that we have. Some people are not born into a great family and have a tough time as a child. Some people may have a good family but can’t go to college because of its cost and some people are born with learning or physical disabilities and have a harder time in school or just in life in general. I am lucky enough to not have any of these problems. However, my brother does have a learning disability. So I am grateful that I do not have one and that other people understand that things that they take for granted are more difficult for my brother. I think that my parents have raised me to be grateful for the things that I have and not to be too jealous of the things I don’t have. So, in conclusion, I believe it is important to be grateful for the things that we have because not everyone gets to experience the things we do.

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    • Hi Anthony, I can resonate with your belief statement. It is important to reflect on what we possess and to be grateful for everything we have. Being thankful is essential because not everyone gets to have the same experiences.

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  17. “It’s not that bad, we’ll go tomorrow ”, my father implied.
    “Yea, there’s probably a long wait in the emergency room anyways”, I nodded as I looked down on my thigh where an abscess, the size of a football had been thriving for the past week. I used to get abscesses all the time throughout my childhood and I thought to myself that this was no different. An abscess when a body tissue gets infected which causes it to swell and that swelling is accumulated by puss. That evening we made a trip to our primary care physician and her reports stated that there had not only been pus build up but there was such an ample amount present that it was damaging the blood around it, which caused bad blood to form. She suggested that this was not an immediate emergency but we needed to be in an emergency room that day after 8 p.m. After our family dinner, I and my father came to the conclusion that we will postpone our plan until the next morning. An hour later the phone rang and non-surprisingly it was my physician. She advised that we get to the E.R as soon as we can since she was not seeing any reports about me from the hospital. We finally decided to make to make the drive to the hospital. We spend around five minutes in the E.R explaining at the front desk my situation. Soon enough I was in a bed. Two nurses rushed to hook up a drainage system onto the abscess. An hour later the doctor finally enters the room with his reports. “Congratulations Mr. Patel, you lived to see another day ” she stated with a big smile. “Why is that? ” I questioned. Then she went on to explain that the bad blood had started to travel towards the heart and it had begun to pump the bad blood throughout my body, and if the drainage had not been executed in time my body would have faced a life-threatening stage. She added that if I had been late to the hospital for twenty minutes, my body would have entered the stage.

    This event took place in my junior year of high school. That day I realized that I had been given a second chance at life. And I am so thankful for every moment I have today after that incident.
    I am so thankful to meet new people, make new friends, and have the support of a crazy family. I am so thankful that my mother had the chance to see her son graduate from high school. I am so grateful that my father has the opportunity to see his son attend an outstanding university. And if it weren’t for my physician, I would probably not be here telling you about this experience.

    Thank You for reading.

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    • Wow this must have been so frightening when it was happening! Your bravery and ability to come out of a situation like that having learned a lesson is so important.

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    • This is so inspiring I also relate with the second chance at life because my parents were both given one when they beat cancer. Its amazing how much we take health for granted.

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  18. They often say that for the sick and elderly the two things that they hold on to for the longest is faith and music. Patients with Alzheimer’s are seen praying the rosary or singing along to their favorite songs but yet cannot remember what they had eaten for breakfast. Throughout my childhood I was a part of a volunteer music troupe called the Showstoppers. With this group we would go around to nursing homes and sing to the elderly. There were patients that could barely walk and I would see them tapping a finger to the beat of the music. Such sad faces filled with happiness and it seemed like for a second they forgot about the pain and fell in love with the music. My voice has a power that is not found in just anything. There is a kind of healing power to music as well as my faith. My faith is something that has just recently entered into my life and is now a defining feature and value to who I am as a person. During my time in high school I sang for all the school masses. I became the voice of school and I realized that I had to give back to not only my school and the community, but to God. My voice is a gift and singing for people and for church is my way of giving back. I strongly believe it is my gift and I have to share it with the world because it has the power to impact others. I don’t think about it as just volunteering, I feel it is the purest way to give back and my way of saying thank you.
    Volunteerism is one of the most important things that humans have to offer to one another. Growing up, I was surrounded constantly by people from my community lending their time and effort to help make a difference in my life as a student. I attended an all girls school for low income families called Our Sisters’ School, a school primarily ran by AmeriCorp teachers and volunteers. From such a young age I was constantly told how important it is to volunteer and to thank those who lend their time. When I graduated from middle school and entered high school I realized that I had to give back. I then began to tutor as well as teach a chorus and A Cappella group that would sing at many fundraising events as well as their graduation. For me, volunteerism is a core value that truly defines who I am as a person and what I believe in.
    Giving back to those who have once helped you or your community can be done in numerous ways. For me, it was through education, music, and my faith.

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  19. There comes a time in ones life where a growing adult comes upon a sudden realization in their life. It may hit them hard, or not affect them at all. When you are a child you may have been exposed to the idea but you never really grasp the reality of it until your are in the situation. It personally hit me when I was at the Umass Dartmouth orientation. Its the inevitable fact that you are growing. The idea that we are becoming independent people. With that comes an extraordinary amount of responsibilities, and there is no guiding hand to help you. However I’m not afraid of the change. I just miss that feeling of being a kid. That feeling where you have nothing to worry about. A place were 20 dollars meant a lot to you. That feeling of being loved no matter what you did, just because you were their child. For those who are fortunate enough, that caring feeling and warmth from your parents. It was something that I took for granted and didn’t notice until later in life. That’s why I realized it so late. I’m so thankful for how well my parents raised me. I also do understand that because they raised me so well, that I am a representation of them. The way I act, speak, and carry myself represents the way my parents raised me and how they corrected me. For that I will forever be grateful and loving to my parents.

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  20. I like to think that I’m what most people would call a well-rounded human being. I like watching sports and going to concerts, I enjoy hanging out with friends and going out to the beach on hot summer days and I truly love going camping during the fall. But this is where my normal hobbies end and my weirdness begins. In my personal time my life is as far from balanced as possible, in fact it’s almost entirely dedicated to one thing, learning about History. I’m addicted to the idea that incredible events happened whether they were just a few years ago or thousands of years ago. I play video games based on history, I watch movies about history, I read books, watch documentaries even collect some artifacts all about history. Who can I thank for this lopsided life style? My sixth grade history teacher Mr. Quine. Mr. Quine is one of the people I have the most respect for; he is kind, courteous and a complete history nut. He would go out of his way to tell us interesting facts or humanize an otherwise stale old dusty history book we had to pull out of our backpacks every day. He was the man who achieved what every teacher wants to achieve getting there students hooked on learning. Even thought I have not seen Mr. Quine in years I still consider him one of the best teachers I have ever had and a man who greatly shaped my life forever.

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  21. Throughout my life, I have learned that money does not always buy happiness. I have been blessed to be able to travel and have many humbling experiences throughout my lifetime that have solidified this belief within myself. One of which has been volunteering throughout different low-income areas of the country through a community service group called “Young Neighbors in Action.” One of my fondest memories of volunteering with YNIA is of my trip to Washington, DC. There, I worked at a summer camp for low income children of the ages 5-14. I happened to bond with one particular little boy named Jose. Jose was six years old, and gravitated towards me every day for some reason. Eventually, I became “his person,” with him looking forward to play with me every morning as I would come to volunteer. Jose was very eager to learn, and excited to make new friends whenever he would play with the other children. Over the course of my time volunteering, Jose’s enthusiasm and overall positive outlook on life – despite his family’s financial struggles – sent a powerful message to me: no matter your situation you can always look on the bright side of things. I realized that happiness and kindness do not have to be manifested out of your physical belongings, but out of yourself. Sometimes, the simplest concepts in life (like being happy) are the hardest to grasp. For me, it took a six year old boy putting his trust in me and sharing his life and stories to make me realize what I had been missing was something inside of me all along.

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  22. I believe a little kindness goes a long way. Generally, children don’t have problems with people. Until somewhere along the line, growing up, few of us lost our gratitude. I didn’t. I’m one of those people who can’t consciously be mean to someone, even if I developed a disliking towards them. I even can’t help it but act nice to people I don’t like. Ever since early elementary, I valued kindness and gratitude. I spent Kindergarten through fifth grade knowing all the students. We looked out for each other protecting our fellow eight-year-olds against the older kids. Or that is how I remember it. I moved to finish school and didn’t see that kind of commonplace graciousness I remembered. But growing up in that group of caring considerate kids, I believe altered the course of future personality. These values have helped shape me into who I am today. I don’t try to be nice, just like most of us, my gratitude is engrained and I practice it like breathing. I either am or try to be considerate and understanding. I practice all the usual gestures, holding doors and putting things back in the right place, stuff like that. I like to believe I help make the world better in this way, minutely of course. Kind people are like the worlds engine oil, we fill the population to keep things running smoothly. If gratitude is butter and the world is a hot pan then the butter keeps the food from sticking.

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    • I understand what you’re saying. sometimes when dark things happen that gratitude can go out of the window. kind people are rare and its always appreciated when someone sticks to their core values. as time goes on it may get harder but having that core value is extremely valuable.

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  23. It it very easy to take for granted things that we grew up with and the opportunities given to us when we’re born in a first world country. Warm clothes, proper housing and an abundance of food sources are pretty much standard nowadays; it’s hard to imagine life without these things unless you’ve actually lived through it. No, I was fortunate enough to never have to go through such extreme experiences such as starvation self sacrifice, but my parents have had to. One of the mains values that have stuck with me ever since I was a kid is to never waste food. My mother was the oldest of seven sisters and the only way to survive was to farm for barely enough vegetables to feed everyone in the household and had to drop out of school so she could support the family even more. She has always told me how easy my siblings and I have it here in America and food was the driving subject to her comments because I was originally a picky eater until I started to understand the background from what my family had to deal with when they were my age. This shaped how I would look at food from then on; despite how disgusting it may look or how gross it may taste, there are still places where they’d be lucky to even have three meals a day to begin with. Although I don’t have any actual experience to describe how it feels to starve or put off your goals to prioritize someone else, being born from parents of such background fills me with much gratitude that I am able to learn from those who go through the struggle so that anyone else in my family won’t have to ever live in unfortunate conditions.

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  24. My mother would always yell at me whenever I wouldn’t finish what was on my plate. “Why do you serve yourself so much if you know you’re not going to finish it”. Those words would go through one ear and out the other. I didn’t understand why she would get so angry with me over food. She would always tell me that I was blessed and lucky to have the fridge full of food, my closet full of clothes, and a roof over my head. Now I understand why. I traveled to Nicaragua through Summer Search to learn about the history, education system and more. Everyday was a different topic. For example, learning about poverty, the type of jobs there etc. There was one day that made me realize that I did take everything for granted. The group traveled to the local dump to see what is was to work at the dump and have a speaker talk to us about the people there. The speaker spoke about the workers there and he presented a worker that had been picking up trash since she was five. She was 15 years old and said that her typical day was waking up at five in the morning, walk an hour to the dump with her mother and her brothers, and finish the day at four, walk back home and get ready for her night class at six. In that moment it made me realize that the amount of gratitude I had was so little to the amount that this young girl had. She said that the most she would make a day was two to three dollars and sometimes I would find myself complaining because I was making minimum wage. She also mentioned that the same way she came to work she would go back home empty handed. What amazed me the most is that through the struggle she was happy. She said that she was grateful with God because she still had people she loved the most around her, and that was her family. That experience made me realize that I have everything that I’ve wanted and more. Be grateful for what you have today because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

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    • I can’t believe how strong this girl is. I really connected with this story, as I also traveled once but as a part of a school trip to Costa Rica. This experience made me consider all the things I have in my life and how I should be more grateful for them. It’s absolutely amazing to have the opportunity to travel and learn like that!

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  25. The times that I have visited my Godmother in St. Louis, I have noticed that she will talk and talk, and talk some more, until we walk outside. She says that outside she is “people watching.” Every person has their own experiences and ideas to share, and my Godmother taught me that it is important to listen to as many of these as you can. Whether I am waiting in the snail-slow line at Dunkin Donuts or sitting on the crusty bench outside my best friend’s work waiting for her to be done with her shift, I am paying attention to the conversations around me. Sometimes I can’t make sense of any sort of conversation based on the little tidbits that I heard in passing. Other times, I feel like I have gotten to know the person who stands only five feet away from me just because of the sentence: “you don’t need to go to summer camp, all I had when I was a kid was a stick and a tire.”
    I feel impacted by the people in my life regardless of how little I know them because I believe that people are a gift; guiding others in a different direction of their life, or making them more sure of where they are headed. It is important to move past any fear, meet people, and then listen to the story they have to tell. People are always trying to connect no matter what their background or culture is, and I am so grateful to be apart of as many of these connections as I can.

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  26. I believe in gratitude. I believe that no one should ever take life for granted. At any moment something you love can be taken from you. Throughout life, many of one’s prized positions are taken away and aren’t appreciated as much as they should be. Growing up I lost many great things from people to small toys. When I was younger I lost my grandfather, which was heartbreaking, but it was an eye-opening moment in my life. Being young I wasn’t giving enough appreciation to the things I loved. As I grew older I learned that anything can be taken at any minute and when I have it I shouldn’t take it for granted. Not everyone experiences something to teach them this where other people experience it at all different ages. Recently my best friend and I were on vacation and after dinner, he ended up having a seizure on the sidewalk which we didn’t know at first. Running through my mind the whole time was the thought of loss and how I didn’t receive enough time. Thank god it wasn’t as serious as we thought. This again struct my mind with the reality again of loss at any time. In conclusion, through different life events, it showed me that I believe no one should ever take life or anything for granted and they should realize this before they experience an event that shows them.

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  27. Over three years ago I stepped on a baseball field to play my first game of the year. In the first inning of the game I violently collided with a teammate in the outfield resulting in serious internal damage to my abdominal organs. My pancreas was torn in half and my spleen, stomach, and small intestines were severely bruised. After being rushed to the hospital and undergoing emergency surgery I spent the next three months of my life in and out of a hospital bed. It was during those three months that I became extremely close with Dr. Francois Luks at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. My relationship with Luks stemmed from the most difficult time in my life. After coming out of surgery everything was a blur. There were many uncertainties that lay ahead of me as I sat in my bed. I was scared and I didn’t fully comprehend what was going on. As the head pediatric surgeon of Hasbro, Luks held a prestigious position that required much of his attention and energy. However, his willingness to go out of his way and show care and compassion for me was more important than he’ll ever realize. As I struggled to get back on my feet it was Luks’ compassion towards me that made an enormous difference in my recovery. Having someone like Luks who was such an important person go out of his way to help someone like myself who was in need had a profound effect on me. My appreciation for his compassion is beyond words and what he has done for me will always stay with me.

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  28. When I was 14 years old, my father, younger brother and I decided to travel to Uruguay, South America for 2 weeks. Our goal was to determine whether Uruguay was a hospitable and compatible environment for our family or not. However being down there changed my perspective on nearly everything. From the things as simple as running water to living conditions, many things down there were substantially less . The most important life lesson I learned while I was there was to treat people the way you want to be treated. Being a “gringo” in a darker populated country could have been a lot worse than we made it out to be. Regardless of my skin color and poor Spanish, citizens were eager to help. They helped with directions, along with shopping. Clerks didn’t try to scam us out of our money due to our lack of knowledge of prices or items. We also made many friends, and I believe that this is because we put out positive energy. No matter what we always made the best of situations. We got to stay with family friends, the Lancaster family, and that was when I realized how much we take for granted. The Lancasters were american, but moved down there to spread the words of God. They were missionaries. It wasn’t until I was walking on their dirt floors, house flustered with flies and chickens, then I realized that the clean clothes on my back weren’t a given living condition for everyone, but a blessing. Coming back home to hot, clean running water, and toilets that flush, made me more appreciative of everything I have. Some kids don’t have a home, or even a family. Yet I’ve been grateful enough to have all of that, including a good education and a promising future. The one thing I will always keep in mind is to value more, spread positivity, and to always remember you’re not better than anyone.

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