Words by Kiana Duncan

Ah, Thanksgiving break. A time for family, giving thanks and Uncle Leo’s racist comments, all over a homemade meal that doesn’t really beat mozz sticks. In Thanksgivings past, you can remember all the smiles and laughs amid cranberry salad and shots at your boyfriend (he only had one tattoo. One!) However, with your brand new, fancy college edjamucation, you are now the target of some new jokes, complete with the questioning of your life decisions.

Fear not, because having gone through my first college Thanksgiving last year, I took some notes (while hiding out in my room), and I’m now prepared to go in, human evolution book blazing and my liberal friends on speed dial.

Be prepared for some backward-ass attitudes. We know your family is full of great people. I mean, I’m assuming. Honestly, they could be serial killers. Or put in the milk before the cereal (worse). But hey, minor flaws. Regardless, they are bound to say some cringeworthy things that would get them mugged on campus. When it comes to the -isms and -phobics, the best you can hope to do is hand them a LGBTQ pamphlet and hope for the best.

Bring things to do. You’d be surprised, but you genuinely run out of things to do at home. What else is there to do in southern Ohio besides go to Wal-Mart and…well, sit in the parking lot? Unless you want to play Uno or Wii Bowling with your younger brother for hours on end, I recommend dragging along some homework and a laptop for Netflix when your family is getting on your last nerve.

Twenty questions with your family is a real thing. Naturally, after your first semester, everyone wants to know:

  • What you’re doingHow you’re doing
  • How’s college?
  • Do you love it?
  • Hate it?
  • What’s the deal?

And it is exhausting. It’s cool they care, but playing 20 questions with every member of your extended family gets tedious. Be prepared to feel like Kanye West at a press conference (or Dory and Marlin surrounded by seagulls in “Finding Nemo.” Mine!) You will definitely be the celebrity at this year’s Thanksgiving.

Come armed with answers and false confidence. Along with these questions comes some more, well, blunt ones from the greying members of your family. The following may be said directly to your face and with about as much shame as a little white-haired lady with racist comments:

“Oh honey, do you really think journalism is a great field to get into?”
“Are you sure LGBT studies is a real major?”
“When are you getting a boyfriend?”
“What grade are you in? Oh, you’re in college?”
“Well, when your grandpa got into the coal mine, it was booming. And he didn’t even need to go to college!”
“Seriously, do you still talk to that boy you dated in high school? He was nice! Too many tattoos, but decent!”
“Are you even eating enough?”

Keep calm. You can do this. If you’re unsure, just shout random facts/answers/sayings that sound intelligent. My personal favorite?

“In the criminal justice system, sexually based defences are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives that investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories. Duh Duh.”

Eat until you’re full. Then eat some more. If you’re not swollen like the little kid from Willy Wonka, you did it wrong. We’re talking third helpings of the most buttery potatoes you’ve ever seen in your life. It will be magical, and you will see and eat truly green vegetables for the first time in months. Then go for dessert like the little kid who was raised by health-conscious parents. Feed your inner animal. You will not get this opportunity again for months.

It’s OK to feel a little sad. We’re going to get real for a minute. Maybe it’s just a “me” thing, but the chaos of going home tends to make me feel very nostalgic and a little sad about a part of my life that’s over. That’s totally OK, and normal. I don’t have a lot of advice, just cry a little bit and drown your sorrows in a mug of gravy.

Snag some pie for the ride back. By some blessing of the universe, adults never seem to want leftovers. Take advantage of that. If you’re lucky, you can take full pies back to college. Full pies. A girl doesn’t need anything when she’s watching “Love Actually” and shoving pie in her face. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend? False. Pie is.

No matter what, I believe in you. Bring as many Christmas decorations for your dorm as you can. Also, four foot trees can fit in your room (Psh, mom was wrong this one time.) Good luck!

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