With Thanksgiving behind us and more winter holidays on the horizon, people are reuniting with their loved ones in traditional holiday cheer.
While some may choose not to partake in holiday celebrations, others struggle to muster any joy from them.
This applies to some of our own friends and classmates, including those away from home for the first time.
Others have difficulty finding hope during this time of year due to familial challenges like divorce, estrangement or losing a loved one.
This holiday season, we implore you: Check on those close to you and try to make this time of year a little brighter for them.
We understand how overwhelmed students feel as we enter into the final two weeks of the semester and rapidly approach finals week.
Everyone has a to-do list a mile long, and it feels like there are not enough hours in the day to complete all the study sessions, essays, projects and exams with deadlines that precede winter break.
Still, do what you can to promote a more inclusive, joyful season.
If your roommate doesn’t have a place to go for a holiday dinner, invite them over.
If your friend is attempting to attend three Christmas dinners and cannot escape the vortex of their divorced parents’ bickering, offer an ear to listen. He or she may not want to discuss sensitive family matters, but he or she has your full support.
If you yourself are experiencing a particularly difficult holiday season, reach out and ask for help. There are many individuals, groups and organizations willing to offer assistance to those going through a rough patch, especially around the holidays.
Of course, we encourage everyone to be as kind and compassionate as possible on a year-round basis.
However, it’s important to recognize that a season typically reserved for cheer and togetherness may not go smoothly for everyone.
Especially in light of the current political climate and the extreme divisiveness of the United States growing more volatile by the day, it’d be a bright spot to see and experience a happy holiday season.
Make it a goal to bring people together, and pay mind to the fact that we all likely have far more in common than we may think.
Let’s make this giving season extend well beyond the traditional timeline of late fall and early winter.
Remember, the biggest changes can start with just one person, so don’t be afraid to get things going in the right direction. It may just have a snowball effect—it will be winter soon, after all.
From all of us at the IC, happy holidays!