Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s officially the holiday season. With the constant bombardment of themed commercials, the annual return of Michael Bublé, and the beginning of the countdown until the end of the semester, we like to think we are in the most wonderful time of the year. However, for Miami and its students, is that statement really true?

Finals week quickly coming down our chimney can be the Grinch that steals students’ happiness. It is the make or break period – the crunch time – and no one is trying to end up on the naughty list. While most of us are stressing out or just accepting the coal, this season goes against every bad aspect of the end of the semester, and if we keep this in mind we won’t be melting away before break.

While a few holiday songs are somber and sad – “Christmas Shoes,” I’m talking to you – this is supposed to be the merry time of upbeat positivity. One of the most important parts is when we surround ourselves with our closest friends and family and be happy. So, how bright are you?

Sadly, Miami does not partake, but the lights Uptown tend to literally and figuratively brighten up the night. If we sulk around and say, “bah humbug” to every group project, paper, and exam over the next three weeks, our lives will be as dimly lit as campus.

Now, being a bright light of positivity is not always the best, for no one can spend lots of time looking at the obnoxious rapidly blinking LEDs. But, during the dark times the end of the semester can bring, if we can stay bright and positive, the working season can stay just as merry as the holidays.

Whenever we surround ourselves with those we care about, another major aspect of the season is gift giving. Although many professors will be handing out grade we definitely didn’t ask for, there is also a tremendous amount of gift giving we don’t think about. Every interaction with another person is a gift, and it’s up to us to determine if it is a positive or negative one.

For most of us, we put exactly what we want on a list, and others choose what they want to get from that specific set. That is when gift giving is easy. However, no one is the same, and more times than not we don’t know what people want or how they will receive whatever we choose to give them. Are we giving others respect, empathy and kindness or are we giving whatever we feel like and not taking into consideration the feelings of others?

In the coldest time of the year, we need to keep our hearts and actions warm. We are constantly giving and receiving, and whether they are grand gestures or on a minuscule scale, whatever is received can influence what they will give to the next person encountered. Just like the golden rule, give what is good, and give the gifts you want to receive.

During this holiday season, are we Grinches and Scrooges, or are we Santas? While it may seem like our few weeks left are blue, we must keep the true holiday season alive in our thoughts and actions. As lights start to go up, ugly sweaters are put on and our workload increases, this sometimes-icy time is when we need to stay warm. By staying jolly and giving meaningful gifts, our short time here will be nothing less than merry and bright.

stemmlmf@miamioh.edu

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