This week, a friend of mine gave me a much-needed reality check.

We were talking about how students have been complaining lately about the policy changes regarding campus housing next year, and I asked her what she thought about a certain modification. Her response blew me away.

Instead of whining about how she might not get the building she wants or how prices for apartments are too high, she offered a painfully accurate observation about the student body. According to her, students are forgetting to simply be grateful that they will have somewhere to live in the fall. As long as we have roofs over our heads, she argued, we should be happy.

Our conversation left me questioning my own priorities. We’d all like to think that we take time to count our blessings now and then, but I know I tend to complain about trivial issues more often than I pause to reflect on the abundance of good in my life. It’s just so easy to fall into the trap of moaning and groaning about essays, tests and applications that sometimes, I lose sight of the bigger picture.

In the grand scheme of things, we’re privileged young adults who can afford to pay for our education at a private school (at least, we could before tuition went up. See? Still complaining). Most of us have loving homes to which we can return for breaks. Still, though, we complain about the campus’ housing situation while hundreds of our fellow Sioux Falls community members do not have places to call home.

Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only time during the year when we stop to appreciate what we have. I, for one, am going to try harder this semester to count my blessings when I feel like whining about schoolwork or the Augustana campus. Today, I am grateful for a friend who sees beyond minor problems, and in doing so, reminds me to not take the good in my life for granted.


September Symens is a junior English and journalism major from Omaha, Neb.