Community: Here’s what I’m thankful for in higher education

Students and professors at the University of Maryland, College Park discuss what they’re most thankful for in higher ed this Thanksgiving season

thankful-thanksgiving-education There’s been a lot of vitriol about higher education in the public and media lately, but for those students and professors on campus, there’s still a tremendous amount to be thankful for in the postsecondary world.

Whether looking at higher ed as a stepping-stone in student’s career paths, a chance to be exposed to new things, or as a place to make new friends, higher ed has brought several benefits for its community this Thanksgiving season.

What are you thankful for in higher education this holiday season? Leave your comments with the story or ping us on Twitter @ecampusnews.


With the economy not as healthy and robust, more students are looking at what else they can take out of their education besides their studies.

“I am most thankful for the work/experience opportunities—specifically getting a job before I graduate. The education I received within higher ed provided me with the return on investment I was seeking,” said Molly Garfinkle, student at UMDCP.

Likewise, for those students seeking employment, networking is among their top priorities.

“ I am definitely thankful for the connections that I’ve made. Specifically for me, being interested in Sports Journalism, Maryland’s sports journalism program has really helped me get my career jumpstarted. I’ve become very close with one of my professors, George Solomon, sports editor at Washington post and creator of Shirley Povich Sports Center here at the journalism school,” Oliver Macklin, journalism student at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMDCP), said.

(Next page: Thankful for diversity and chance to teach)


While students like Macklin are most thankful for their professional connections with faculty, others are grateful for the diversity of connections made available to them across the university community.

“I really value the connections because I feel as if I am being exposed to an extremely diverse set of people which help me understand them better and myself. I think that helps me gain a larger perspective of the world. Also the close connections are a community and help inspire me to make myself better,” UMDCP student Obed Molina said.

Universities across the country thrive on the concept of diversity. Whether it be diversity in academics, gender, race, or sports, inclusion plays a large part in student enrollment, as they seek to discover themselves and their interests.

“I am most grateful for exposure to diversity—diversity in the form of people, thinking, and living. The habitat that comes with higher education at a school like Maryland is chock full of diversity,” said UMDCP alumnus and Prime Brokerage representative at Morgan Stanley, Hayley Moss. “My perspectives have changed and been challenged inside and outside of the classroom. My childhood was vastly different than others; my thought process and norms too. Exposure to different people gave me the ability to become more open minded, accepting and insightful. That will serve me far better in life than any 3 credit class.”


While some students may value most the benefits received for post-graduation, some are more thankful for the actual opportunity to receive and teach higher education.

“I am thankful for having the opportunity to come to an institution where professors and staff are integrated into the learning of students inside and outside of the classroom. Through this collaboration, I have been able to exponentially increment my knowledge about the industry, expanded my professional network, and become empowered to pursue a career in the logistics industry. Indeed, I am thankful that professors care so much for our development,” UMDCP student Marcos Moya said.

This gratitude is not only noticed on the student side, but also from a professor’s viewpoint.

“Simply put, I am most thankful for the opportunity to teach. I’ve always been thankful for that—it’s a tremendous opportunity,” Logistics professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at UMDCP, Leland Gardner said.

Carly Morales is an editorial intern at eCampus News.