Thanks­giving Day is over, and the Christmas season has begun — right out of the gate Friday morning (no, Thursday afternoon!) with Black Friday shopping sprees, Cyber Monday sales, and our token #Giv­ingTuesday. The National Retail Fed­er­ation esti­mates record spending over the weekend amounted to as much as $720 billion.

For college stu­dents, the temp­tation to jet­tison grat­itude with the Christmas season is doubly present: Besides the bells and whistles of holiday con­sumerism, we have finals and papers and, here at Hillsdale, Hell Week and cold weather all at once.

We’ll want to com­plain a lot more than we give thanks. But that’s a sorry way to spend these last three weeks of the semester — which should be as much a season of thanks­giving as before.

The biggest, and noblest, chal­lenge ahead of us isn’t to finish papers and ace finals; it’s to put others first and keep giving thanks, in the midst of all the work.

Your #Giv­ingTuesday donation won’t cut it. Thanks­giving is a way of living, and it’s selfless. It’s choosing a fruitful con­ver­sation over Netflix to abate your stress; it’s ringing the Sal­vation Army bell when you could be studying; it’s sac­ri­ficing sleep to fulfill a com­mitment. There’s no excuse to stop loving your neighbor before yourself, even when your self-esteem is at a grade-induced low.

Hillsdale stu­dents have plenty to be grateful for, and gen­erally, we’re aware of that. We devoted a whole “Day of Thanks” to writing cards in grat­itude. We work hard because we do, deep down, appre­ciate edu­cation. Even the dozens of Christmas parties crowding the cal­endar this time of year are a tes­tament to our delight in the things we do and the friends we have here on campus.

Don’t lose sight of that these next few weeks. The struggle is real, but keep it in per­spective. The Christmas season should remind us, if any­thing, that our hope is in some­thing more foun­da­tional than a grade or even a degree. That is some­thing to be grateful for, joy­fully so, indeed.

So give your time away these next few weeks, and keep your chin up. It’ll be a much merrier season if you remember to keep giving thanks.