No doubt about it, college is a weird time. Celebrating the holidays gets even more complicated when you’re suddenly living away from home and trying to struggle your way through to the end of the semester. Around Thanksgiving especially, the holidays start to take on a variety of new and strange forms.
1. The Attempt at Normal Thanksgiving.
Maybe you live close enough to school that you can drive home or take the train. Maybe you snagged a cheap plane ticket, or saved up for the expensive holiday traveling prices. Or maybe your family is just really eager to have you at home, so they paid for it. Regardless, you manage to come home for the holiday.
You warn your family that you’ll need time to focus on homework and study for that exam that’s coming up Monday, but when you get home, somehow the time just gets away from you. You find yourself doing little but sleep, eat, drink, and watch TV with your family… maybe a little Black Friday shopping as well. Just when you’re about to get started on the homework, your best friend or significant other shows up at your door and you end up catching up for hours and going to see Big Hero 6… and by the time you arrive back at school on Monday, the remaining week and a half of class seems like an eternity. How can you possibly go back to this after that fleeting taste of freedom?
And then, at the other end of the spectrum, there’s…
2. Do Absolutely Nothing.
This was the kind of Thanksgiving I had last year, and it’s kind of a downer. Your family’s tight on money, so you stay on campus, hanging out with the two remaining friends who couldn’t go anywhere either. You maybe struggle a little with having to cook all your own meals since the dining hall is closed. You actually do some homework, and marathon a season of a new TV show, and if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, you replenish your word count. Your family calls you or FaceTimes you from the dinner table, and you get passed from person to person to wish them each a happy Thanksgiving… and when you hang up, you go back to the quiet boring life of Doing Absolutely Nothing.
The break seems to last forever, and by the time classes start again, you’re almost relieved because you’re closer to the end.
Also known as “Dranksgiving.” In this delightful case, enough of your friends are staying on campus that you can have a party and put together something resembling a Thanksgiving dinner… but let’s be real, the main courses probably consist of alcohol. The turkey is dinosaur chicken nuggets, the mashed potatoes are of the powdered variety, and somebody brought strawberry jam in lieu of cranberries. And there’s probably more kinds of pie than real foods. But the quality of food doesn’t matter… in reality, this Thanksgiving is probably a lot less dramatic and more fun than a real Thanksgiving at home would be. Instead of dealing with racist relatives, you play drinking games and get some quality time with your friends.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have Friendsgiving this year. This is where your significant other or one of your friends invites you to their place for the break, and their family is kind enough to host you. You try to repay them for their hospitality by helping with the cooking and dishes, but usually they’re too nice to accept your help… and you don’t know where anything in the kitchen is anyway. So you probably end up playing board games with your friend and their siblings, while the rest of the family watches the football game.
You and your friends stay up talking until 4 am and get teased for waking up past noon, you stomach a couple of hours of Black Friday shopping, you have hours-long phone conversations with your friends who are home… and again, though you halfheartedly swore you’d catch up on schoolwork and do tons of studying over the break, you don’t do any of it.
Such is Thanksgiving in college.