Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Involvement on how literature taught her gratitude

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(Photo courtesy of Melissa Dalrymple)

Hannah Koch

By completing an assignment she was less than excited for in college, Assistant Director of Student Leadership and Involvement Melissa Dalrymple found a new outlook on gratitude.

At the time, Melissa was a senior at East Stroudsburg University and was going through the limitless stress that seniors normally undergo during their final year of college.

“I was assigned to read this book…in a senior seminar and I was actually really irritated. I was like ‘I don’t have time for pleasure reads,’ I was very loaded down with school work,” said Dalrymple, laughing about it now.

The book was 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik.

“[Kralik] really hit rock bottom, the book talks about how one day, he decided to write a thank-you to someone and he felt really good after it so he wondered what something as simple as a thank you could do. So, he set out on this mission to write 365 thank-yous, one for every day of the year,” Dalrymple recalled.

While reading the book, Dalrymple appreciated the author’s realism the most.

“Everyone sets out with the best intentions with these missions, and he set out with the intention to write 365 thank-yous, and there were certainly times when…maybe he wasn’t able to write one for three days and then he catches up,” she said.

After reading this book, Dalrymple started to believe in the importance of “holding yourself accountable but not being tough on yourself when things come up.”

While setting the goal of writing a thank-you note every day of the year seems like a overwhelming undertaking, Dalrymple still tries to incorporate the books ideas into her everyday life.

“I try my best in pretty much anything to make sure that someone knows I am thankful or grateful, for example, if they’ve done something for me, or the office, or for the students. Just keeping relationships positive is super important,” she said.

“I try to do the little things…I truly think that [it was] based on his level of thankfulness and the way he progressed, that’s kind of why I am the way I am with students,” she added.

This simple act of kindness was not in the job description and certainly not required of her, but it is something she is happy to do.

“I consider myself very student-centered. If there were no students, I would not have a job,” Dalrymple said with affection glowing in her eyes.