Editorial Notebook

Appreciating the positive memories in my life during Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, my aunt asked all of us at the dinner table to think of things we were thankful for this year, which got me thinking about everything that’s happened in the past 12 months. Although the origins of Thanksgiving are rooted in giving thanks for a good harvest, a materialistic blessing, I think holidays like these are important because they give you a moment to look around to appreciate the people, good memories, and other intangible blessings of your life.

I’m thankful for the opportunities Rensselaer has given me. This is not an easy school, and it’s not the perfect fit for everyone, but I like it here. I’ve only been here for three semesters so far, but I’ve enjoyed most of my classes since coming here and have had some stellar professors. To professors Schmidt, Turner, Gerstle, Ran, Spina-Caza, Magdon-Ismail, and Schaffer, I’d like to say thank you for always doing your best to make classes lively and interesting while also teaching us the skills we need. Anyone with a doctorate degree can read off slides to students. But to be a professor, one needs to love teaching with all their heart; the professors I have listed fully embrace the responsibilities of their title, embodying the very best of the principles of academia.

I’m thankful for my job as a journalist intern. I’ve absolutely loved my boss, who has been understanding, supportive, and motivated pushed me to do my best work. The skills I’ve gained from this job: interviewing, data collection, and data analysis, have been invaluable. It’s my belief that every college student should try to get a part-time job in a field they love, even if it’s not related to their main major, because it’ll give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. I’m very thankful for that opportunity.

I’m thankful for my uncle, aunt, and cousins, who made the most spectacular traditional American Thanksgiving dinner this year. It was so good that my aunt’s sister, who lives in Canada, said that this was by far the best turkey she’d ever eaten in her life. I’m thankful for the memories I made with them this year.

I’m thankful for two loving parents. Imperfect as they are, they’ve done a lot for me. Our home life wasn’t always perfect, but they stayed and they did their best. I’m thankful that they’ve been overwhelmingly supportive, especially in the past year. As Christmas draws closer, I find myself getting more and more homesick, wishing to spend more time with them. I’m lucky that I was born to parents such as them.

I’m thankful to be on The Polytechnic. As a more introverted person, I’m glad I joined such a vibrant, social club because The Poly has made me open up more. The best thing about The Poly is the friends. The hysterical hijinks they pull always make me smile, even when I’m in a depressed or melancholic mood. And I’m thankful for having a great editor-in-chief, one who deeply cares about The Poly and all its members. Some EIC’s are just club officers, never going beyond their required duties. Others are true leaders, making sure that each member of the organization feels like they fit in, and taking the time to help those who struggle. I’m glad she belongs to the latter group.

I’m thankful for my friends online who helped me when I felt completely alone. And I love the banter and chemistry in our group chat. I’m especially thankful for two friends, each of whom has gone out of their way to help me with a problem I had last year, and both of whom I hold dear to my heart.

I’m thankful for my other friends at RPI, including my roommates. These overachieving, fun-loving, and most importantly, kind-hearted young adults have always pushed me to do my best academically, have a decent social life, and have supported me when I didn’t feel so good physically or emotionally. I cherish each adventure my roommates and I have when we visit a new restaurant each weekend and then come home to watch a few episodes of Code Geass. These are memories I want to stick by me even when I grow old and have one foot in the grave.

I’m thankful to be me, Namish Gali. I’m thankful to have been born into a country that stands for unadulterated freedom and liberty. I’m thankful to have been born in the 21st century, growing up to see technology integrate itself into more and more aspects of our lives. I’m thankful to have been raised in a culture that prioritizes familial connections. I’m thankful that I have a weird and rare name—one that no two people pronounce the same—because I love being able to tell a person’s voice from the way they pronounce my name.

Obviously, I’d change a couple things about my genetics and the circumstances of my life if I had the power to. I might even make different life choices if I could do it all over again. Not everything about my life was, is, or will be perfect. But worrying about the things you can’t change is a gross way to waste one’s time.

I know that this year and even this Thanksgiving hasn’t been kind to everyone. I know that there are people who’ve lost family, friends, or are going through hardships with finances, relationships, or mental health. To them I wish strength and goodwill. Life isn’t easy for anyone, and sometimes it takes months or years for things to get better, but I am confident that the sun will shine on those who stand in its path waiting for it.

I don’t believe I had the easiest time growing up. But while writing about one’s struggles is a great way to relieve the burden, writing about one’s victories and expressing gratitude for the good times, supportive people, and privileged circumstances is a great way to put my life into context. For where there are shadows, there is also light. I can only hope that we don’t forget about the light in our lives, for, as Albus Dumbledore said in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”