There is always something to be thankful for.

I like to start every day by journaling a page in my notebook and writing down three things I am thankful for. When I started doing this, I quickly realized that writing down the names of my family members and friends only lasted a week. I had to think about the little things in life, like seeing a sunrise on my way to school or getting a letter in the mail from a friend. Nothing is too small or insignificant to be thankful for. As you continue reflecting on gratitude daily, you have to really examine your life to see what you are thankful for.

A lot has changed in my life this past year, and I took some time to think about the things that have impacted me most. One stood out—my journey with NeW. I discovered NeW in December 2020 while attending a student conference. I was wandering around the exhibit hall, checking out other organizations and collecting stickers for my laptop. I spied a hot pink tablecloth from across the room, and since pink is my favorite color, I knew I had to check it out. I stopped at the table and talked with the NeW staff. All of the women were extremely welcoming, friendly, and helpful. I could instantly tell they were being genuine in their attempts to get to know me without expecting anything in return. I followed NeW on Instagram and grabbed some stickers for my laptop.

When I returned to my campus after the conference, I saw how desperate students were for connection during the pandemic, and I knew I had to take action. I got connected with the NeW team and started the process of bringing a NeW chapter to my campus. 

In August 2021, I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended the NeW Leadership Retreat. When I walked into the conference room in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I only knew Alexis Flowers and recognized a few other women I followed on social media. When the Retreat was over and it was time to say goodbye, I left with 50 new best friends and an incredible support system. We quickly went from connecting as fellow Chapter Leaders to becoming lifelong friends. 

I truly do not know what I would do if it were not for NeW. Through the organization, I have gained professional development skills that I will carry with me beyond my time in college. I have made friends through NeW that regularly reach out and encourage me, even though we do not go to the same school or live in the same state. I have learned how to effectively plan and host events on campus, engaging women in social and professional development activities. NeW has given me the opportunity to learn more about current events and engage in meaningful discussions about my values.  

Through my involvement with NeW, I have learned to focus on things that I am passionate about.  I encourage you to focus on things that mean a lot to you. If you are thankful for people in your life, let them know through a quick text message, phone call, or handwritten note. If you want to show gratitude by giving back to others, consider volunteering or supporting a charity you are passionate about. NeW promotes November as ConSERVative month, highlighting the positive impact that individuals can have in their community. Check out how NeW women are stepping up in their communities on our social media pages: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 

This holiday season, take a minute to reflect on what you are most grateful for. You just might walk away happier. 

Erika Head is a NeW Chapter Leader at Oakland University and the NeW Communications Intern this fall.

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