By DANIEL KLAPHEKE
Perspective editor

It’s that time of year again. Time to roast the turkey, hug the extended family and count your blessings as to what you’re oh so thankful.

More accurately, time for disappointingly cold turkey, awkward encounters with second cousins who can never remember where you go to school and Black Friday strategizing. What better way to celebrate Europeans ravaging the Native American population?

In all seriousness, this is a time to be thankful. With the atrocities occurring daily around the world, it’s nice to live in a country where we have the freedom to criticize it. But what should you really be giving thanks for?

Move beyond the obvious answers of friends, family, lovers and pets; those are always the first to come to mind. We’ve been trained since elementary school to ramble off stock subjects to be thankful for, whether you actually are or not.

Some people have just reasoning to hate their family, and that’s OK. Others have pathetic excuses for friends, or lack thereof. That’s fine as well. A bitter sting comes with having to say you’re thankful for something you’re not.

For instance, I’m thankful for the scholarship I earned to get me through school. Yes, I’m forever indebted to my parents for raising me, but that scholarship is something I earned. I did the studying, I pulled my hair out and I (and my parents) am reaping the benefits.

It’s perfectly fine to be thankful for something you did for yourself. Don’t let the stigma of selfishness have you embarrassed to say, “I’m proud of myself. I did this.”

Getting through the semester deserves a celebration itself. School is tough, and it generally gets tougher as you progress. Give yourself a congratulatory slap on the ass for getting that paper turned in on time, despite having started it the night before. And give yourself a satisfying point-and-wink in the mirror for not having a mental breakdown on Powell Corner, even though you easily could have.

Not to get sappy, but also be thankful for your professors. When you’re walking to class at 8 a.m. for a dreaded lab, remember: your professor already made the trek that morning. Professors don’t teach for their health, or for the glory. My father is an educator and he would happily reaffirm that claim. To show your appreciation, consider being engaged in class. That at least shows respect, which can help loosen the tension between you, your professor and the final exam.

Be thankful this Turkey Day for the people who deserve your praise. Whether it be family, professors, maintenance staff or the person who makes sure there’s always toilet paper in your favorite bathroom; they rock, so tell them.