25 Things I Realized I Am Grateful For

25 Things I Realized I Am Grateful For

Gratitude brings happiness in unexpected ways.


As finals are coming around and the vibe on campus has changed, I have been looking for some things to help ease my mind. In the past, I have found that journaling is really helpful, but I have recently begun what some call a "gratitude journal." Every night before bed and even sometimes when I wake up, I write down three things that I am grateful for. Usually, I try to point out things that I don't notice every day. Of course, I am grateful for my friends and family, but what about the beautiful walk to my classes in the morning? Starting this has helped me focus on the good things, so in order to get you started on bringing more gratitude into your life, here are 25 things that I am grateful for.

1. Visits home

Understandably every college student is grateful for this, but it becomes so much better when you really take it in. Home feels a little warmer when you don't live there anymore, and even though that's weird, I'm really grateful for it.

2. My Friday morning bagels

This semester I had class at 9 a.m. on Friday mornings, and more often than not, the thing getting me through was knowing that I got to eat a chocolate chip bagel with peanut butter right afterward. Not that I had to eat this every morning, but it was a little treat for myself after waking up at 8:00.

3. My puppy

My Dog

Missing your dog is something that doesn't go away when you're at college, so I'm really grateful for whenever I get to FaceTime my parents and see his cute face. If only he could actually FaceTime!

4. The short walk to my friend's dorm

Penguins Walking

The UIUC campus is pretty large compared to other schools, but luckily it only takes me about two minutes to walk to my best friend's dorm, just like at home!

5. Having my own car

Dog in car

At home, I have the privilege of having my very own car, so I'm really grateful that I don't have to wait for anyone in order to get to where I need to be. I also love getting to drive it when I go home!

6. When it snows during the nighttime


Snow during the nighttime is so peaceful and quiet and makes for amazing walks anywhere. Honestly, we don't have enough gratitude toward how beautiful nature is.

7. Calling my parents

I am constantly updating my parents on what I'm doing at school, and it's awesome that I am able to do that. You don't realize how much you miss them until you don't see them every day.

8. Music by my favorite artists


Without music, I honestly don't know what I would do with my life because I listen to it literally all day. Getting new music, especially from artists that I'm obsessed with, makes me happy for months on end.

9. My cozy college dorm

I do love my room at home, but I had the chance to make my dorm exactly what I wanted it to be, and the mixture of my twinkle lights, pictures of my friends and my new mattress really make me feel at home! I'm really grateful I can feel so comfortable so far away from my actual home.

10. Big sweatshirts

Mirror pic

Big sweatshirts are my aesthetic, so if I don't have to dress up, you best bet I'm wearing one of my favorite sweatshirts. They're perfect for every time of the year, so who wouldn't be grateful for them?

11. Soft blankets

Cats in blanket

It's impossible for me to sleep unless it's cold in my room so that way I can sleep with lots of blankets on me. Coming back inside and getting under a soft blanket is something I look forward to daily.

12. A cup of cold water


If you're obsessed with water as much as I am, you know that water tastes different at different places. Coming to college, I learned that it's hard to find water that is cold and tastes good, so I'm always happy whenever I have a nice cup of water that isn't mediocre.

13. Moments of silence


My life before college was busy, but being an only child, I usually had time to myself. However, I'm always on the go in college, so I appreciate times when I can sit in silence and just take it all in. Sometimes you just need to stop and take a deep breath without anyone in the room.

14. Listening to my professor talk about science

Night Sky

My professor for my climate change course is a chemist, but I'm convinced that she's the smartest person on the planet. I'll be sitting in class and she'll go on about phytoplankton and dissolved oxygen, not because she has to, but because she loves it. I understand what she's saying about 50% of the time, but hearing her go on about her passion fascinates and enlightens me so much.

15. The College of Education at UIUC

College of Education

The College of Education at my university is my favorite place to be, and I can say that walking into that building always feels like a warm hug. The faculty in this college is made up of some of the sweetest and most caring people I have ever met, and I am so grateful that I get to not only work with them but be a part of everything they stand for.

16. My weighted blanket

I bought a weighted blanket a few months ago to help with my anxiety, and it has been life changing for me. I am so grateful to have something that can calm me by just laying under it.

17.  YouTubers

Me with you-tubers

YouTube has become my new TV, so I've become one of those people that can go on and on about their favorite YouTubers and what their life stories are. Even though I don't personally know them, I met some of my favorites at Lollapalooza this past summer, and I'm grateful for everything they do to make people feel happy and loved.

18. Papermate Flair Pens


I know this one sounds completely random and specific, but that's exactly what your gratitude journal should be filled with. I use these types of pens to write down literally anything because they make my handwriting look so good. I'm not sure why they make me so happy, but they do, so I won't argue it.

19. My planner


I love organizing so much. I could probably do it all day. My aunt gave me a planner as my graduation gift, and I put my entire life in it. I get excited when I get to put more things in it, and it's so refreshing when I get to cross off something that I accomplished.

20. Hot showers


A hot shower, especially during the winter, is something that I realized I love once I started doing a gratitude journal. I take one every day, but they're so much better when you realize how relaxing they are and let yourself enjoy them.

21. My grandparents

My grandparents

Of course I am grateful for my grandparents, but because I don't see them as much since I'm away, calling them always makes my day. Not everyone has grandparents that are insanely amazing, so I'm lucky that I do.

22. My mom's sugar cookies

Sugar Cookies

My parents just sent me sugar cookies that my mom made, and I know they've always been good, but I forgot how good they actually are. It's dangerous how delicious they are, but I'm definitely not complaining.

23. Redbubble stickers

Computer Stickers

Redbubble is a website that sells super cute stickers to put on your computer that don't mess it up when you take them off, and let me tell you, I love them. They make my computer look so cute, and you can always tell enough about a person just by looking at which ones they own.

24. Salted caramel hot chocolate

Hot chocolate

Salted caramel hot chocolate is a must, particularly a tall one from Starbucks. It takes hot chocolate to the next level and sometimes is all I need to lift my day up.

25. Burt's Bees chapstick

Chapstick in itself is a blessing, but Burt's Bees vanilla bean chapstick is my favorite. It's a silly thing to be grateful for, but when it's cold and your lips hurt, it's very understandable why this made my list.

Gratitude is an amazing thing to have a lot of in your life. Being grateful for the little things in my everyday life has made me much more appreciative of what I have and less aware of what I don't, and I know a lot of us are looking to feel the same way.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Why Spring Time Is The Best Time Of The Year

With the first day of spring right around the corner, here are some reasons why spring is the best time of year!


If you are like me, you know that seasonal depression is real. I'm happiest when the weather is nice and I can explore what nature has to offer. I look to spring every year, because I know there is more to do and the extra hours of daylight makes for additional time to do my favorite things. I love to run outside, travel to nearby parks and outdoor attractions, and just enjoy the beauty and nostalgia of the outdoors.

Spring is a great time to get back in shape. There are a variety of fresh fruits and veggies that you can get at any local farmers market or grocery store to spice up your diet in the spring. Also, the gym can be monotonous after a long winter, so the start of spring brings a breath of fresh air for many outdoor fitness activities. Go for a walk or run done local trails or paths, do yoga outside, or even go go biking, hiking, or kayaking. The spring offers so many cool opportunities to become healthier.

Spring always reminds me of Easter time and Easter always makes me think of quality time spent with friends and family. Plus, I always think of baby animals and flowers blooming, two things that bring everyone joy. If you get a chance you have to visit the cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C., it is such a beautiful site. Furthermore, one of my favorite things is that first really sunny, warm day in the spring when you can open all the windows in your house and savor the start of spring.

The springtime also means that summer break is closer. After a long 8 or 9 months of school, the thought of a nice 3 month break is refreshing. Start planning your summer job, internship, or whatever you want to get into this summer, to give you some motivation to finish the semester strong.

Spring has so much to offer so prepare for the rainy days of April and the sunny days, full of flowers in May, and everything in between!

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