Oberlin Blogs

What Are You Grateful For?

November 29, 2021

Lanie Lee Cheatham ’24

While Thanksgiving is a settler-colonial holiday that whitewashes history, promotes indigenous erasure, and crafts a false illusion of unity, I take it as a warm reminder to spend time with loved ones and give thanks. Feeling and expressing gratitude is something that I believe is super important in my life, and something I don’t do often enough. Thus, as the week-long fall break comes to a close and classes begin again, I aim to reflect on what I am thankful for. 


One thing that brings me joy is fall in Ohio. Some people really hate on Ohio, but it is quite a beautiful place. Oberlin is full of trees, all different types, and many of them turn vibrant colors and shed their leaves in the fall. The flatness of Ohio also allows for a different movement of the sun’s rays than I am used to throughout the day. I feel so at peace during the late afternoon on a brisk fall day as the glorious sunlight beholds me, fractured from tree branches and buildings, but gleaming through nonetheless. Whenever the sun hits my skin, I feel rejuvenated, like I can take on whatever awaits me in the day. 

Tappan square in the fall. Trees with red, orange, and yellow leaves shadow a bench.
Photo Credit: Evangeline White
Sunlight gleams through trees, the ground is covered by fallen leaves.
Photo Credit: Ava Carubia


I am incredibly grateful for the friends and strangers I run into going about my day. Since Oberlin is a fairly small campus, I find myself running into people I know constantly. Most of the time seeing familiar faces is a welcome sight, when I am bored, craving human connection, or just want to see a friendly face. Often, I forget to reach out to people I legitimately like spending time with, so running into them and making plans or doing something right then and there is quite wonderful. 


I really love food. Eating food, making food, looking at food, I love it all. Last year, since co-ops were closed and I lived in Dascomb, I didn’t get to cook as much as I hoped, but still did. See my blog post about cooking here! This year, I am in Third World Co-op, a lovely little safe space for people of color in OSCA. I love my co-op, and I love that I have access to an industrial kitchen and ingredients to make whatever my heart desires. This semester, I am a head cook for Third World, so every week I have to plan, prepare, and cook a meal for my 30ish co-op members with the help of 2 other cooks. This was a bit stressful at the beginning of the semester when we were first getting all the scheduling worked out because at one point I had to head cook three times a week, sometimes with only one other person helping me, and all within 1 hour and 20 minutes while following strict food safety guidelines and still not really knowing what I was doing! Now that I’ve gotten into the swing of things though, I really enjoy cooking for my co-op. What is beautiful and terrifying about head cooking is that you are condemned to freedom. You can make anything you want as long as you have a gluten-free and vegan option, and accommodate various allergies. This usually means we eat rice and beans, with some sort of vegetable for most meals. But I am an ambitious person, and I really love to get creative with meals. I can (and do) eat rice and beans every day, but sometimes it is fun to make good pasta and bake something sweet. I am extremely grateful for the community and opportunities for cooking and eating good food that Third World provides. For the meal right before the break, I made pizza and apple pie, a difficult task but well worth it for the delicious outcome.

Apple pie with a top crust rests in a metal tray.
Apple pie! Looks weird but tasted amazing. 

As classes begin again, I hope to reflect more on the people and things that I am grateful for at Oberlin. Whenever I feel sad or overwhelmed, I try to reflect on how lucky I am to be at Oberlin, with all its beauty and lovely people. 

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