The Power of Gratitude
By Nikki Hammond
My freshman year in college, I was an organizer for Bonner Appreciation Day (or BAD, as we like to call it), which is a tradition UH Bonner celebrates every year on Valentine’s Day. We create a post on the UH Bonner Facebook page and do just as the name suggests– appreciate one another. Sometimes it is a line or two about someone’s work ethic; other times it is a paragraph about how grateful we are to have a fellow Bonner in our life. While we are only assigned to write to one person, the Bonner Love never stops there. Collectively, we post over a hundred appreciative comments to each other each year. It is by far my favorite Bonner Tradition. It's sentimental and soppy, but those comments bring immeasurable joy, especially when midterm season is fast approaching.
Inspired by organizing Bonner Appreciation Day, I decided to hand out notes throughout the day. I cut out my sticky notes into the shape of hearts and wrote notes to anyone and everyone I thought I might run into. Before COVID, the Honors Commons and Bonner Base were bustling places where students frequently went to study, chat, and just hang out. Through spontaneous conversations over the course of my first semester, I built a rapport and friendship with many of the people who frequented Bonner Base or the Honors Commons. All this to say, I wrote a lot of appreciation notes. I did not mind, though. I feel that everyone deserves a Valentine's Day present, even if it is just a small note from a friend, and this was the perfect opportunity to show my appreciation to the people who welcomed me into their community.
I felt nervous handing the notes out at the beginning of the day, especially the ones I gave to people I was merely acquaintances with. I thought they might find it silly and inconsequential. Some did. They said a polite “thank you” and pocketed the note to toss it later, but a majority of people surprised me with their gratitude for the gesture. One Bonner started tearing up and thanked me profusely. Another person, who was practically a stranger but one I frequently saw in the commons, stared at me in utter shock before calling me an angel. Two years later, some of my friends still have their note neatly tucked into their phone case or on display in their room.
You never know the value of a kind comment to another person. You can guess or make inferences based on their reactions, but you still may yet find yourself shocked by how much a simple gesture means to someone. A note as simple as “Happy Valentines Day! I appreciate you! Thanks for being you!” makes a difference.
We forget that sometimes, which is why I will always cherish Bonner Appreciation Day. It serves as a reminder to express how much we appreciate and care for one another.
Bonner Love from Alumni in New York City
Bonner Love from 2019-2020 Senior Interns
Bonner Love from Students at Bowling Event