No prelude, just a list.
1. My parents. I've been through ups, and downs, and all arounds with parents. I think every child has. But through and through, my parents have been supportive, nurturing, and kind to me. It's easy to overlook the things people do for you, and it is especially easy to overlook the value of the sort of unconditional love we receive from our parents. I grow more aware and appreciative of that love and the role it plays in my happiness every single day. My parents are my best friends and my role models, and I am so thankful for them.
2. My home. I live in the most beautiful place on Earth, in a beautiful home, with nice things. I am neither ungrateful for this or unaware of this. I have so many things that so many do not. While I may never be able to appreciate all of it, I try to appreciate as much of it as I can. I am thankful for my bed, my shower, my laptop, my backyard, my house, my kitchen, the foods inside my refrigerator. I'm thankful for shoes on my feet, heating in my bedroom, scented candles, and warm jackets. I am thankful for tea, pine trees, cars, garages. I am actively trying be grateful for all of it, but there's just so much to be grateful for. I love my home.
3. Nate. I couldn't do it without him. He understands everything about me and accepts me so openly. He is better to me than I could possible deserve, and he is so incredible in everything he does. Today and every day I am so constantly proud of him and proud to be his. I am so grateful for his goodness, his humility, and for the love he shows me. He honestly means the whole world to me.
4. My school. Emory is a really special place. The teachers, the students, and the whole institution have opened up so many doors for me and introduced me to so many new ideas and perspectives. I wasn't sure Emory was right for me. I am now confident it is. I love my school, and I cannot wait for what the next 3.5 years there will bring.
5. Debate. It's changing, it's weird, and it's sometimes awful. But it's given me everything I have.
6. More specifically, the Barkley Forum. These are the best people, the best friends, and the very best community I've ever known. They are my family and I am so grateful for them.
7. My friends. In high school I was really alone. In college, I am anything but alone. I have so many great friends who have shown me so much love. Two years ago I would have never imagined I would have friends who love me so much and show me so much kindness. Thank you. To everyone who has made me so happy to be alive.