Being thankful for the present

If it isn’t enough that college students have to worry about finding jobs once we complete our four, sometimes five, years of school, the burden of paying back our loans doesn’t wait — we carry it along for the ride.

The New York Times reported many students carry around financial stress during their undergrad years, before they’ve even had the chance to try and secure a job.

When it starts to get tough academically and my gas tank approaches “E,” I wonder if all this will pay off. I think, “What’s the point?”

Hearing the percentage of unemployment in the U.S. — which was 7.9 percent in October, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics — is enough to put anyone in a frenzy.

And with a majority of Arizona voters not showing an interest in the funding of education, I’ve lately been asking myself if college was the right choice. I admit that I have been trying to come up with other alternatives to make money and secure a job.

But the truth is, I really can’t find one. I constantly have to remind myself that even though the outlook seems bleak, there has to be opportunities at the end of this educational trek.

Finals always has a way of adding to this bundle of stress, but with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I’ve been reminded to not let that affect me and to be thankful for the education I am receiving.

I’m sure many of you feel the same. Try to find the silver lining around your academic and economic woes.

Yes, we don’t know if there will be jobs waiting for us once we toss our caps in the air, and many of us don’t know how we will pay back our loans; but one thing I know is that I can make the most of my time here.

It’s easy to let the economic state of our country cast a dark shadow on the rest of our college experience. Instead, we should let it motivate us, ensuring that we are next in line when it comes to finding jobs in our fields of study.

I’ve been burdened by feelings of annoyance and impatience when I think about my courses and all the projects I have yet to complete.

And then I received a general email from one of my professors, encouraging her students to continue working hard through the end of the semester. She told us to finish the race and not give up, even though we may be feeling run down.

This simple note of encouragement was just what I needed — and probably some of my classmates — to not get caught up with the now and the often-times-saddening outlook of the future.

So this Thanksgiving, before digging in, take a short moment to be thankful for where you are academically and resolve to finish at your best.

Reach the columnist at or follow her at @natalieroxann.

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