Still plenty to be thankful for this holiday

By Rebekah Devorak | Opinions Editor 

I think we all can agree that these past couple of weeks have been an absolute whirlwind.

With the stress of Election Day and its outcome weighing on our minds and the mad dash to finish assignments for each of our classes as the fall semester begins to wrap up, it’s almost as if we haven’t really had a chance to pause. Thanksgiving Break is already next week, and the thought of being surrounded by friends and family for five straight weekdays is – especially with the uncertainty many have been feeling about the nation’s political future – either petrifying or comforting.

I hope for everyone’s sake that you are all feeling the latter.

But if not, don’t worry. There are still innumerable meaningful things that you can be thankful for this upcoming holiday, even in the context of whatever is about to happen in Washington D.C. Here are just a few of those reasons:

In the United States, your vote actually counts. This statement might seem controversial to anyone who voted for Hillary Clinton as, according to CNN, it appears as though she will win the popular vote but will not be inaugurated as president this January. In the U.S., though, whoever we elect to office gets that position. Except in incredibly rare circumstances, the person who gets the most votes, whether they be Electoral College or otherwise, gets the job, and our rights as voting citizens are respected. That’s not the case in every country around the globe.

Take, for example, the recent parliament elections that occurred in Hong Kong. Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung were elected to office, and during their swearing-in ceremony, they launched a sizable anti-China protest. Hong Kong is a territory of China, one that BBC says has a “high degree of autonomy.” But some, like Wai-ching and Leung, believe Hong Kong should be its own independent nation. Despite being elected into parliament, China issued a strange ruling trying to stop them from taking office. Tuesday, Hong Kong’s highest court told the two candidates that they had been officially disqualified from their positions as a result.

Even though we might not like, or even tolerate, whoever gets elected in America, at least we know the choices of our fellow citizens are going to be honored.

America has a blossoming system of higher education. During the holiday, take a moment to appreciate that you are attending college in a country that is known for its first-rate programs. The U.S. has an incredible system of higher education; out of the top 400 universities in the world for 2015-16 as ranked by Times Higher Education, 147 American colleges made the cut, with 63 cracking the top 200. There is no better way to change the world, or the future, than through the power of education. If you are dissatisfied with the results of the presidential election, the best thing that you can do is make sure that you and others around you continue to receive a quality education and learn about the power of decision making. Be thankful you are able to do this in one of the top nations around the globe.

You can follow and achieve your dreams. If nothing else this Thanksgiving, be grateful for the knowledge that anything is possible. If a man with virtually no previous political experience or concrete plans can be elected to the highest office in the United States, then you better believe that you can follow your own dreams and actually accomplish them. This election season has shown that nothing is too crazy to become reality, and you should take full advantage of that fact. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goals, no matter how lofty they may be. Put your head down, work hard and you will be surprised at how successful you end up in life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Remember to be always be thankful, no matter what.