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This holiday season, all of us should take a moment to be humble and give thanks for Princeton. Princeton is an institution with many pros and many cons. Its perpetuation of inequalities, dark sides of history, and difficulties with change can be at times hard to swallow. But those are topics for other columns and other days. For now, let us focus on the positive; let us give thanks. 

There are few other places on this earth where you can be surrounded by young people with such an abundance of resources and natural talents besides Princeton. Let us not take for granted the company we are exposed to every day, and the extraordinary people that study and walk around the same halls that we do. It is a blessing to be among some of the most educated young people the country. For us as individuals, this is a tremendous good that we have received. 

Princeton itself, too, gives us much. From the socialized health care of University Health Services to the teachings of some of the most prestigious and talented academics, from beautiful stone architecture to the resplendent glass buildings. Princeton spoils us, nurtures us. Princeton helps us find jobs, pays for us to go to Europe, lets us drink beer on Prospect Avenue. Should we not give thanks for such bountiful good? 

Give thanks for being at this institution. Acknowledge the sheer luck and privilege that all of us share in this place. Princeton, despite its difficulties, makes our lives far easier than they might have been at other institutions, in much more fundamental ways than the difficulty of our classes or the contents of our GPAs. The resources at Princeton, the prestige of the name on our résumés and CVs will carry us as far as the friendships we make here. All I ask is for you to take the time to be thankful. 

Reflect on what we have here, and realize how incredibly fortunate we all are. I have my own stories of gratitude to tell, from my classmates who put up with my being that guy in precept, to the boys on the men’s lightweight crew team, to my editors at The Daily Princetonian. And of course, dear reader, thank you for reading. 

Ryan Born is a junior in the philosophy department from Washington, Mich. He can be reached at

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