Gratitude. In the midst of all of the chaos, concern, sadness and turbulence that is emanating from the world around us, I feel nothing but gratitude for the time I have spent at Gonzaga University. 

Looking back at my two seemingly short years at GU, it’s become so clear to me how much of my experience I took for granted. I would complain about small inconveniences such as waking up early for 8 a.m.’s or having to spend a few extra hours studying for an exam. 

Now that COVID-19 has forced us all indoors, I’ve had plenty of time to think and reflect on what I wish I had done differently.

I wish I had understood just how lucky we all are to be living the lives that we have. I wish I had understood how something so simple, like attending class or studying in Hemmingson, could have meant so much. 

The opportunities we were presented with and the memories we were in the midst of making, were all a result of the incomparable atmosphere and environment that GU offers. It’s created through the roar of the student section during basketball games, or the liveliness of campus on a sunny afternoon, with DJ DeSmet’s soundtrack to our lives playing in the background. 

It’s easy to sit back and think of all the “big” things that make our time at GU so extraordinary — but it is the backbone of the university, the unsung heroes, who are truly responsible for making the magic happen. 

I can’t say I speak for the entire GU student body, but I know I speak for many when I say we often took for granted the opportunity to wake up and be able to attend class in person, with our peers and with our professors. None of us could have predicted that the semester would end any other way, and thus many of us did not truly appreciate the privilege we were experiencing on a daily basis. 

While this epidemic impacts much more than our education, students around the world experienced a feeling of grief as their education and the lives that they knew were suddenly ripped out from under them. If you had told us at the beginning of the semester that we should show more gratitude for our early morning lectures, or our three hours labs, we would have looked at you like you were crazy. 

But here we are, and here is the current state of our college experience, and I know at least personally, I would go back to those 8 a.m.’s or late night labs in a heartbeat, if it meant being able to return to class with my peers and my professors. 

I think in the midst of all this fear, confusion and uncertainty about what each new day will bring, it is an opportune time to reflect upon what you do have, and what you are grateful for. Now more than ever, the world could use a little outpouring of love and support. 

It would do us well to remember that while we were home or traveling for our spring break, wondering what the school’s next move would be, our professors were working tirelessly to shift their entire syllabus and course plan, so that we would have the smoothest transition possible to online courses. 

I know I personally didn’t have to lift a finger during this transitional period. My professors worked so diligently to inform us, be there to guide us through this new academic fronteier, and create an entirely new learning environment, all without our help. 

When this all passes, rather than trying to push away our memories of the past months, we should live our lives with more intention and gratitude, knowing that our time at GU is precious and finite. 

The next time you connect with a lecture, or are fascinated by a course, reach out and tell your professor. By spreading positivity and gratitude in our lives, we’ll end each day knowing we didn’t miss an opportunity to do some good or tell someone that they’re appreciated. 

These are unprecedented events and there is no doubt we’re living in a historic time, so let’s not rush back into our “old” lives when this is over. 

Let us not take for granted being able to make faces at our friends in classes when we think the professor isn’t looking. Let us not take for granted being able to sit down with roommates at the end of the day and get lost in joyous conversation. 

Let us not pass up an opportunity to thank our professors, for we understand how much work they put into each and every one of their classes, and we appreciate their dedication to our education. 

If this pandemic teaches us students anything, it should teach us that our time and our experiences are precious and whenever possible, we should make it our mission to spread gratitude and appreciation for those who make it all happen. 

Audrey Measer is a staff writer.

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