By Megan Kenslea
My freshman year of college I couldn’t wait to go home for Thanksgiving. I had kept in touch with most of my friends with constant video chats, Facebook messages, but I hadn’t seen most of them since August. I had big vacation plans – dinner dates with my best friends, a party for Friday, and some quality one-on-one time with my family. It was going to be the best vacation ever.
Boy, was I off the mark!
I ended up getting in a huge fight with my core group of friends from high school Friday night, and was too busy fielding angry phone calls and voicemails for the rest of my break to have much fun.
So how do you prevent yourself from falling victim to the unexpected, inevitiable drama Thanksgiving break brings upon college students every year? Try some of these handy survival tips on for size:
1. Expect your friends to be different.
No one comes back from college exactly as they were in high school. Some people change drastically (we all know that shy girl/guy from high school who became a huge player once they got to college), while the change in others is more subtle. Don’t assume that your friends and your friendships to be the same, but do try to figure out a way you can be a part of each others new lives.
2. Negotiate new house rules with your parents.
Another huge change? Your relationship with your parents. After a semester at school, you’re used to newfound freedom – from late nights to messy rooms, with no parents to worry about, most freshmen settle into new patterns and habits. But your parents might not be too pleased with your dirty dishes piling up or your late nights out. Before your break starts, set some ground rules. Coordinate your schedules so you can make time for both friends and family.
3. Make time for your siblings.
While you’re busy worrying about spending time with your friends and making sure your parents don’t hate you by the end of break, you might forget about your siblings. Don’t. Your relationships will have changed with them – if they’re older, they might look forward to sharing college stories with you, and if they’re younger, they may need someone to gripe with about how strict mom and dad have gotten since you left. Each Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my siblings and I pick up subs from our favorite sandwich shop in town and spend the afternoon catching up.
4. Don’t expect to get work done.
The last thing you’ll want to do when you’re home will be finishing your world history reading or studying for your Microeconomics final. If you have a long flight, train, or bus ride, you’ll have time to get some light reading done, or maybe a problem set or two. But once you’re home, you’ll be so busy with family, friends, and food that the likelihood you’ll get work done is very slim. Your professors may still assign a lot of work, so if you absolutely have to camp out at the town library, bring your friends and make it a group activity.
5. Take advantage of being at home.
College is great, don’t get me wrong, but there are so many great things about being at home. I can do laundry without worrying about people taking my clothes out of the dryer and dumping them on the floor, and sometimes when I “forget” to fold my clothes, my mom will even do it for me. Thanksgiving also means lots of leftovers to bring back to school – can you say pumpkin pie for breakfast?