We asked Northeastern students, ‘What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?’

collage of six headshots of northeastern students
Photos by Alyssa Stone and Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

The traditional harvest feast of Thanksgiving Day has roots in the English settlers of Virginia and New England in the early 17th century. 

In 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation for “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day in 1863 to be held on the last Thursday in November. 

The United States continued the tradition on that day until President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt moved the Thanksgiving Day up a week in 1939, in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. 

In 1941, to eliminate any confusion, Congress passed a resolution and Roosevelt signed it into law establishing Thanksgiving Day as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November, to take effect the following year. 

The Thanksgiving holiday is also celebrated in Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Liberia.

We asked Northeastern University students: What are you thankful for? 

Rajesh Karumanchi, 23, India

Graduate student, data science 

“I’m thankful to my family and friends for helping to shape who I am today. Being there for me, whenever I need emotional or moral support. For teaching me how to handle tough situations in life, how to value people, and how to gain one’s respect.” 

Alina Mueller, 24, Switzerland 

Graduate student in the human movement and rehabilitation sciences master’s program and a student-athlete on the women’s hockey team

“I am thankful that my family made it healthy through the COVID pandemic and that it brought us closer together emotionally even though it created more separation physically during that time.”

Benjamin Zi-Hao Tan, 26, Singapore

Graduate student, journalism and media innovation

“I am highly grateful to Northeastern, which offers such a big opportunity, and studying at one the best universities in the U.S. and I am kind of thankful to myself, too. You deserve to not only enjoy it but to feel grateful for everything you’ve done to make it happen.”

Simran Malhotra, 19, Massachusetts

Third-semester, biochemistry and bioengineering

“I am thankful for my friends on campus because, honestly, Northeastern would not be the same without them.”

Nick DiRico, 21, Maryland

Senior undergraduate, biochemistry 

“I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my health, coffee, and getting the opportunity to go to school at Northeastern.”

Aarya Paudyal, 25, Nepal

Graduate student, business administration

“I am thankful to my family who supported me to come to the U.S. and make the path for me to study at Northeastern. I plan to go to New York with my friend for Thanksgiving as a kind of Friendsgiving.”

Ethan Otash, 20, New Jersey

Undergraduate, chemical engineering

“I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to speak more with family this year, more than any other year, and I am really thankful for this connection to be more available for them. I plan to go home for Thanksgiving and have a great time with my family and have a fabulous dinner.”

Amir Shaikh, 27, India

Graduate student, data analytics

“I am highly grateful for life and whatever I have in my life. I am thankful for my health and happiness and the times which I spend with my friends, studying at Northeastern and exploring Boston.” 

Alexander Choi, 18, South Korea

Undergraduate, mechanical engineering

“My parents are the most beautiful people who inspire me and support me and my sister to study at Northeastern today. I am really thankful to them and wish them a very happy and long life.”

Eva Chen, 22, China

Undergraduate, business analytics

“The best thing in my life which I can be highly grateful for is living in Boston and studying at one of the best schools like Northeastern. I plan to have a gathering with my furry friends because they are who bring me joy and help me feel better when I am down. Life wouldn’t be the same without them.”

Alyssa Lee, 19, Maryland

Undergraduate, neuroscience

“For me, it’s my friends and my family who bring life meaning and I am really thankful for having them.”

Manviqa Bangarupeta, 24, India

Graduate student, business analytics

“The most beautiful thing in my life that happened to me this year I would be thankful for is making my new friends, Sanjans Bhupathiraju and Rohitha Yegnisettipalli, who are really nice and are like sisters to me. For me, it will be Friendsgiving, and I can thank them for being by my side in my very difficult times.”

Salma Zenaida, 19, Morocco

Undergraduate, health science

“The good health, the air we breathe, the parents who support us, and the friends who make us smile are all worth being thankful for. For Thanksgiving, I plan to buy nice gifts for my family and have a family dinner all together.” 

Linh Le Thlly Tran, 25, Vietnam

Graduate student, digital journalism

“I am proud of my family and really thankful to them that after years of the pandemic and the economic recession in Vietnam they could make this happen, to send me abroad to study. I wish them a healthy and long life.”

Listia Khairunnisa, 26, Indonesia

Graduate student, public administration

“I am really thankful to be here in the U.S. and studying at one of the most esteemed schools. And I am grateful to my sister Novia Afdhila who encourages me and supports me to believe in myself and make this happen to study here.”

Dev Sonsakia, 23, India

Undergraduate, project professional management

“I am really thankful to Northeastern University, which provides a wide range of services and educational opportunities to all students from all over the world.”