College Thanksgiving: 5 Things to Do When You Can’t Go Home

college thanksgiving

Not all college students can make it home for Thanksgiving—the flights may be too expensive, the trips too long for a weekend, the weather too unpredictable. Maybe you have a research project you need to monitor or a term paper coming due. Just because you can’t make it home doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome holiday. Here are five things to do for a college Thanksgiving if you can’t go home.

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  1. Get a group together for a Thanksgiving potluck. You are not the only one on your campus who isn’t going home. Login to your campus social network and put up flyers to find others who are in the same boat and organize a potluck. This is a great way to make new friends, and you may even start a new tradition. If you live in a dorm room, see about booking a common area. Not a cook? No problem—many grocery stores have Thanksgiving party platters with all of the traditional foods, or you can have a totally nontraditional meal.
  2. Attend a community dinner. Many community organizations and even restaurants host community Thanksgiving dinners for anyone who wants to attend. Find a friend or two who also can’t make it home and use this opportunity to get to know some members of your local community.
  3. Volunteer. Studies have shown that volunteering makes you happier and can even help you live longer. So spend your Thanksgiving helping the needy by volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, church, or other charitable organization. Your campus volunteer organizations will be able to help you find local opportunities or you can check out
  4.  Go home with a friend. At a Thanksgiving dinner, the more the merrier. If you have friends who live close to school, see if you can go home with one of them. Most parents of college students are thrilled to provide a family for students who are far from home and would be happy to set a place at the table for you.
  5. Relax and do something just for you. By now, you have been in school for a couple of months, and chances are between homework and social activities you haven’t had a lot of time to just do whatever you want to do. Take this opportunity to get off campus and explore a museum, do something creative, or just curl up with a good book that has nothing to do with your classes. Finals time is just around the corner and things are going to get busy, so spend Thanksgiving weekend relaxing so you feel rejuvenated and refreshed heading into December. And everything you learn can be cataloged and tracked on Degreed.

Whatever you do, be sure to take a few moments to think about the things you’re grateful for—friends, family, the opportunity to go to college—this will help make your holiday meaningful, no matter how you spend it. Happy Thanksgiving!


david blakeDavid Blake is the Co-founder of Degreed, author at MOOCs, and a Stanford d. School EdTech Entrepreneur. Fast Company wrote, “Why can’t we take  robotics at Carnegie Mellon, linear algebra at MIT, and law at Stanford? And why can’t we put 130 of these together and make it a degree?” Now you can! Take courses from any university and learn from the best  resources across the web with


What do you do when you can’t go home for a holiday?

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