By Nicole Krahe
Marketing Communication Student Assistant, Penn State Behrend
Studies have shown that being grateful has a significant impact on lives; it reduces stress levels and can even increase our life expectancy. In honor of the upcoming holiday, we asked Behrend students, faculty, and staff: What are you most thankful for?
Casey LaBuda, sophomore, Nursing, from Pittsburgh: “My mom. I always call her in the middle of the night when I’m having a breakdown about nursing.”
Dr. Nancy Study, lecturer in engineering: “In answer to the question about what I’m thankful for this year, I would say it’s the same things I’m thankful for every day: my family and friends, and the privilege of having a job I enjoy. Of course I’m also thankful for the creature comforts in my life like a nice house to live in, an all-wheel drive vehicle to get around in the snow, a steady supply of caffeine via coffee and Twining’s English Breakfast Tea, and sturdy snow boots, but I’ve learned over the years that material things and money mean very little if you don’t have your loved ones and/or spend 40+ hours a week in a job that makes you miserable.”
Morgan Corle, first-year student, Communication, from Avella: “I’m thankful for all the people that I’ve met here and become close with.”
Dorothy Kurylo, campus coordinator for nursing programs and lecturer in nursing: “I am thankful especially for my family and friends. I am also thankful to be a faculty member of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. As a newcomer to Erie, I have become very thankful for my boots and my snowbrush. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!”
Amy Neal, first-year student, Division of Undergraduate Studies, from Erie: “The cold, so I’m able to appreciate the weather when it’s warm!”
Mallory Carson, first-year student, Political Science, from Erie: “I’m thankful for black lipstick.”
Kristen Comstock, assistant director of alumni relations: “I am thankful to work for my lovely alma mater. Every day I get to interact with many of our fantastic 35,000 alumni. Plus working at Behrend means I get to enjoy, more often than most alumni, the delicious Bruno’s chicken wraps! And I cannot forget I am grateful for friends, family, health, happiness, and shoes!”
Dr. Mary-Ellen Madigan, senior director of enrollment management: “I am thankful for my kids—now grown. They both have good jobs and live independently. Along with them, I am thankful for my three beautiful and fun granddaughters. I’m especially thankful that they live nearby and I get to spend time with them.”
Dr. Don Birx, Chancellor:
“Thankful – Yes; for being in Erie and especially at Behrend.
Yes it is cold,
but I have found hearts here are warm and friendships deep.
Yes there is lots of snow,
but it makes the days so much brighter – with a glint from the winter sun.
Sunsets are stunning, the hills full of grapes,
and the land slopes down to a great and beautiful lake.
Thankful – Yes, and for so much more……for all of you.”
Dr. Dawn Blasko, interim associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of psychology:
“What am I thankful for this year? Like everyone else I’ve seen today I’m supposed to be thankful that three feet of snow did not fall on Erie today, but went north instead. But, to be honest, a little part of me is disappointed. I’m invigorated by this crazy cold, slap in the face, start to winter. I had to buy new warmer clothes-even find some gloves and boots. My office is always freezing, so my family bought me an alpaca sweater-no wonder alpacas can hang out in the Andes-much better than polar fleece.
The first snow to me is always exciting. I know it sounds crazy to you snow haters, but to me growing up in the Poconos, the first snow was pure gold. It opened up a wealth of new fun activities. Best of all, was the ultimate prize- THE SNOW DAY!
Even though we don’t have snow days at Behrend, (I guess we’re too tough for that), as a kid I clearly remember being snowed in with the whole family for days at a time. Mom, in her fox-furred hood, riding the toboggan, and Dad wobbly on his snow shoes walking the yard to measuring the snow in the deepest drift with his yard stick. There was no work, and no school. Time stopped, we pitched in to shovel the driveway then we were off into the untouched whiteness. A soft fluffy blanket of white erasing all the ugly reality underneath.
Kids made trails around the neighborhood as we called all our friends out to play. We built snow forts to defend our territories and stored up snowballs for battle. We dug out the sleds from the basements and garages and went sleigh riding down the middle of the street. We held toboggan races—that were our own Olympic games. Then there were the accidents, tremendous rolling crashes into banks of snow and sometimes into each other.
Who could forget the feeling of dragging yourself home, bruised, exhausted and soaking wet with numb feet and hands? We’d have some warm soup, put on dry gloves and go out again until the lack of light and parents calling us for supper ended the fun. The perfect snow was short-lived, in a few days the plow trucks and cinders would ruin our hill, school and work would start again, and we would be back to the usual routine.
This might be a long winter, and by February, if not before, even us diehard northerners will be tired of it. But, In the meantime, if the snow is just right, break the routine and make a new memory. The yard behind my office in Glenhill Farmhouse sure looks like some prime territory to defend.”
Behrend Reacts is a regular Thursday feature at the Behrend Blog that tries to get the campus pulse on a current topic, whether it’s serious or trivial. If you have a question to suggest for Behrend Reacts, please email Nicole Krahe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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