As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s common to reflect on the reasons to be thankful.

Many express their gratitude for time shared and getting through another year. The University of Central Florida’s students, faculty and staff were asked to share what they are most thankful for this year.

There were some common threads – family, health, safety, freedom and opportunity.

Tyler Brooks, 19, a digital media game-design major, expressed his thanks for his family support throughout his college career.

“They are always willing to back up any of the choices that I make. They have supported me with everything, from this test I’m about to take to financial support, to just being there as family,” he said.

Others were thankful that their families were healthy.

“We have been through a lot this year, with something happening every other month,” said Karena Edun, a biotechnology and chemistry major. “One month my brother fell down the stairs and a few months later my father had a heart attack. He thankfully is alive and now much healthier. My sister, a few months after that, was hit by a van and she luckily was not hurt severely and had no broken bones. We have gone through a lot but we have also grown a lot together.”

In the wake of so many recent tragic events globally, David Phan, a biomedical sciences major, said he was most thankful for his family and his family’s safety. Rebekah Addy, who works for the College of Graduate Studies, added to her list the freedom to worship freely.

Katie Tighe, a program assistant at Rosen College and a student seeking an elementary education master’s degree, said freedom is a big one for her.

“I’m thankful to live in the USA where I am free to make my own choices,” she said. “I’m also thankful to both work for and study at UCF, which promotes and supports my academic and professional growth.”

Many gave thanks for opportunity, such as Tawana Anderson, who works as a custodian on campus.

“I am thankful for a job and to just be alive,” she said.

Whatever you are thankful for this holiday season, the University of Central Florida wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

To see what faculty, staff and students had to say, visit UCF’s official Facebook page .