What I’m thankful for – Justin Zolot

For the fourth annual Chi Psi Thanksgiving blog series, we asked the Central Office staff to tell us about what they are most thankful for this holiday season. Today you’ll hear from Senior Alpha Visitor Justin Zolot.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

The Holiday Season is one of my favorite times of the year. It is a time of reflection, a time of celebration, and a time of sadness. We reflect on the year that has past, and the experiences we’ve had along the way. We reflect on the choices we’ve made, and how we can improve ourselves in the year ahead. We celebrate the happiness we’ve enjoyed, and the company of close friends and family. We celebrate long-standing traditions, and the chance of making our own mark as we continue through life’s journey. And lastly, we mourn the loss of family members, and share the struggles our days present. No one said life is always a game worth playing, but it is always worth the ride with the right people by your side.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a number of things. First and foremost, I am thankful for my family. I have a wonderful family that supports me in every decision that I make and is always there for me when I need someone to talk to.

Me and my family at my cousin’s wedding in Wrightsville Beach

Life on the road can be a bit strenuous at times, but I am always able to pick up the phone and call home no matter what time of the day. Since working for the Chi Psi Central Office, it seems that my stories top all others at the Thanksgiving dinner table. From Hiking Spencer’s Butte in Eugene, Oregon to attending the 12th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial Service at Ground Zero, I love sharing stories from the road because it allows me to share my passion for an organization that has done so much for me over the past four years. What I’ve learned is that a story can have the most profound effect on people. Whether it is by intention or by accident, our story serves as an agent of inspiration, a spark that lights up one’s mind, and a beacon of hope.  When you sit at your family’s Thanksgiving table next week, be proud to tell your story. Listen to others, and learn from their stories. When you go to bed that night, reflect on the day and ask yourself, “What are you most thankful for?”

Oregon Chi Psi

With my Eta Delta Brothers at Oregon this fall

The second thing, I am most thankful for is happiness in my life. Happiness is often taken for granted, and sometimes we don’t even give it thought. People accuse me of always having a smile on my face, and I proudly plead guilty and ask for my sentence. I attempt to live each and every day to the fullest, and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity I have before me. Moreover, I owe all the credit to my friends and undergraduate Brothers – without them, I would not have stories to tell and have opportunities to share my passion and happiness.

papi america

And lastly, by no surprise, I am thankful for the city of Boston, Massachusetts, its citizens, and all the joy it has brought me over the past six months.  If you recall, I wrote an emotional blog post last April immediately following the Marathon bombings and the personal connection I had to the unfortunate events in my home city. My parents met at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 1986, and I had several friends in Copley Square who were within 50 yards of the first explosion. In the days that followed, I received several phone calls and texts from Brothers all around the country asking if my family and friends back home were OK. It warmed my heart to know that people were thinking of me. In those moments, I experienced the true meaning of Chi Psi. In the months that followed, thousands upon thousands of dollars were donated by people from all over the world to The One Fund Boston to assist victims and their families affected by the Marathon bombings. Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrook’s Twitter hashtag ‘Boston Strong’ became an institutional motto that reflected the entire identity of a city struck by tragedy. The Boston Red Sox now took on the weight of the city, and played not only for themselves, but for the city of Boston, and for all the victims and their families. Their magical postseason run this October almost seemed like it was destiny already written. Despite causing severe emotional distress and probably taking years off my life, the Red Sox represented a team who put their egos aside and came together with the purpose of providing hope and happiness. I am thankful for the Boston Red Sox, their accomplishments, and their purpose to succeed for the greater community.

This Thanksgiving, I will be flying to South Florida to share the holiday with my father and his family. I am wicked excited to enjoy the warm weather and see family I don’t normally see. I am thankful to have completed a successful fall semester, and I am equally excited to begin my spring travels. It is my hope to continue inspiring Brothers to take risks, follow their dreams, and begin to write their stories. Thank you for reading, and I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season!

YITB,

Justin M. Zolot, Pi ’12

Senior Alpha Visitor

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