I graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington on May 12, 2012 with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Journalism. This past weekend, I finally framed my diploma. As I admired this pristine document encased in a simple black frame, I had the opportunity to reflect on why this one piece of paper represents so much of what I have to be thankful for.

My educational experience taught me more than good grammar and basic math. I learned to be a better person and I learned to be my own person.

While studying at UNCW, I learned about rhetorical theory, ethics, organizational communication, public speaking and many other things that would make me successful in my career. I also learned about film production and the entertainment industry as a member of ACE Films. I learned to tie knots and successfully capsize a boat with the Sailing Club. I learned to make s'mores over the stove with my friends in the Honors House. I wrote a speech for the Chancellor of the University as an intern in the University Relations Office. I learned about sustainable farming and local entrepreneurs while writing for UNCW magazine. I know the secret ingredients of the best french fry seasoning in Wilmington after working at PT’s Grille.

Ask any VisionPointer, and they could tell you a similar story. We’ve all had that one teacher who inspired us, the one professor who helped mold our character, the one course in college that shaped our worldview.

The holidays are a time for remembering the things in life we’re most thankful for. As an agency committed to serving higher education, we’re thankful for lots of things: books, artwork, thoughtful conversations with friends, dedicated client partners who challenge us, and so much more. The thing we’re most thankful for – the thing that inspires us more than anything – is the opportunity to serve an industry which creates a positive impact on people's lives.

Higher education will always be, first and foremost, about teaching and learning. Even when difficult challenges arise, we’re thankful for what we do and and the institutions we serve.

What are you thankful for?

We’d love to hear from our friends and colleagues in the comments section below. As you reflect on 2015, what are you most thankful for?

Diane

First and foremost, I'm thankful to have wonderful, amazing people in my life. I'm a very lucky woman to have the opportunity to be the mother of my two wonderful sons; the sister to my sisters (we are the same and very different but ALWAYS the best of friends); the confidant to a small circle of dear friends - many of whom I have the pleasure to work with at VisionPoint; and a business partner to lots of great people who work tirelessly to give one of the great gifts in life - an education. I'm so thankful to be able to enjoy my relationships and to learn something new and exciting daily.

Tony

I'm genuinely thankful for all the people that have, and continue to, put up with me. I'm appreciative of those all too rare deep breaths that can have a calming effect in the midst of so much busyness that tends to consume my life these days. No matter how old I get or what happens in my life, I'm thankful for the love that surrounds me in the many forms that it takes.

Jason

I'm thankful for my beautiful, loving and caring wife who makes every day of my life fun. I'm thankful for our two furry companions, Jake the dog and Mickey the cat, who keep our lives interesting around the house and always put a smile on our faces. I'm thankful for our incredible friends and family who would do anything for us and for each other, and who are just fun to be around. Finally, I'm so thankful for my amazing job at VisionPoint, getting to work alongside the best in the business, with the best clients out there, and being able to call each and every person I work with a friend. Along those same lines, I'm thankful for the leadership team at VisionPoint, led by Diane, who all push me to learn new things and be better every single day. I wouldn't be who I am without everyone in my life.

Matt

I'm thankful for my college-turned-forever sweetheart, Lindsay; for my hilarious and adorable kids and the lessons they're teaching me; for the Panthers' 9-0 (10-0? 11-0?) start to the season; for the quiet and creativity of 6 am; for the ministries of Broad River Community Church and Summit Church; and for friends and coworkers who are a constant blessing and joy in my life.

Zac

Over and above the obvious friends and family, I'm truly thankful for my education. Along the same lines, I'm thankful for the various personal and professional mentors who've helped me arrive where I am. I'm thankful for the opportunity to travel to interesting places and the feeling I get when I come home to a city I love.

Tara

I am so thankful for my husband and the many adventures we have to look forward to together. I appreciate every new opportunity that comes my way. New challenges at work, new recipes for dinner, new movies with friends, new red wines to sample, new trails to run. It’s all exciting!

Gail

Dark chocolate, hot coffee, sunshine, leisure time, but most of all, the love and support I have received from family and friends!

Steph

I'm thankful for my amazing, goofy husband and the rest of my family (who I actually get to visit for the holidays this year!), puppy cuddles, blankets, the combination of puppy cuddles and blankets, and a new job that I love here at VisionPoint.

Micaiah

I'm thankful for holidays and celebrations, especially when spent with family. For quiet and productive mornings, sarcastic humor, Cortland's ability to turn a bad day into a great one, news apps, a group of co-workers who show me respect and kindness every day. For my sister who always reminds me that the majority of things are not worth stressing about. Most of all, I'm thankful for ability to choose happiness every day. 

Carissa

2015 has been a fabulous year and I have lots to be thankful for. My husband, our dog (Dixie), family, friends, home and my favorite things such as Harry Potter, coffee, popcorn, craft beer, my iPad, scarfs and fuzzy blankets. I'm also very thankful for my coworkers, our wonderful clients and the professional and learning opportunities that VisionPoint provides to me.

Rebecca

I’m thankful for the adventure this year has been, for the opportunity to move to a new place with the most patient and handsome roommates (I’m looking at you, Murphy and Patrick) who've made North Carolina feel like home. I’m grateful to have a family full of close friends and great friends who feel like family… and for Southwest Rapid Rewards for helping me visit them!

Luis

I am grateful for my family, friends and especially my mother's health. I am most grateful for all the opportunities that life has given me this year to grow as a person and move forward toward my dreams. Also, I can’t forget chocolate and cake.

Jenny

Bar Keepers Friend. The handful of close friends I'll have no matter how many states apart we live. My patient, handsome husband. My merciful God​.

Amy

First, my wonderful family including 7 perfect nieces and nephews who are the loves of my life. Friends old and new, including my new VisionPoint colleagues. My cat, even though she can be a bit of a troublemaker, who has been my companion for the last 13 years. Lastly, I am thankful to be back in Raleigh -- it truly is home.

Chris

The ability to Google Search "things to be thankful for". Oh, and also Cthulhu.

Steven

All of my friends and family. The amazing last year I’ve had--I got married, bought a house and survived my first annual review at VisionPoint. I couldn't be happier.

Morgen

I'm thankful for my friends, my family, my co-workers, good food, good wine, and good music!

From all of us at VisionPoint Marketing, Happy Thanksgiving!