2016 has been rough for many of us. Hatred, racism, and bigotry have arisen in ways not imaginable prior to the election. Finals are coming up. And we’ve all had our fair share of horrible days, some outshining more than others. Despite all this, 2016 has also shed light on the issues our community has yet to work on. It has united us across UC Santa Cruz, across California, and across the United States. In the past couple weeks, we’ve received reassuring and supportive messages from the Chancellor, professors, and our peers. Students have stood together promoting healthy and peaceful environments. Overall, our reaction as a community has demonstrated our ability to empathize with others and allowed us to reflect on how we can encourage others outside or within our social circles to empathize as well.

While there are an infinite amount of memes, tweets, posts, gifs, and videos around social media emphasizing the disillusion brought forth by this year, I encourage all of us to search within ourselves and find reasons to be grateful for all this year has taught us and to celebrate the many times we have been capable of overcoming obstacles. Whether these obstacles be large or minor, we continue to push through and that is what matters.

Considering the upcoming holidays and upon reflecting on this last point, I participated in an individual exercise where I named the reasons I am thankful for 2016. Though some were silly (Gilmore Girls’ revival) and others seemingly generic (friends, family, health), for these reasons I have been able to endure and survive difficult moments (Yes, even the thought of seeing those coffee-loving, fast-talking, Gilmore Girls again has helped). And when I further reflect and remember that not everyone is as fortunate as I am—as many of us are—to find support within our community, those reasons didn’t seem as generic or silly at all.

Sometimes we allow for stress and pain to get to us. We allow it to consume us, taunt us, and follow us around like giant gray rain clouds hovering above us. We see so many people constantly complaining and venting about little things (and big issues), which is absolutely normal. But, we must also remind each other to be optimistic (whatever that may entail for you), because, frankly, it’s tiring to hold on to such negativity and anguish.

So, this upcoming holiday season, I hope you choose to remind yourself about the tiny victories, the large obstacles conquered, the talents overlooked, the moments forgotten, and all the in betweens that have reshaped and molded you into the person you are at this very instance.

Let’s end 2016 the way we wish the entire year had transpired and not ponder on situations out of our control. Let’s end 2016 with joy and hope for the next year!

By: Nayeli Castañeda | Staff Editor