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8 Things to Do Before College Thanksgiving Break

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Thanksgiving Break means you’ve reached the home stretch! At most colleges and universities, the fall semester ends just a few weeks after classes resume post-Thanksgiving. But there’s no place like home for the holidays, at least according to the Perry Como classic. So if you’ll be spending Turkey Day and Black Friday with your family rather than your dorm mates, check out these eight helpful tips!

1. Finalize your travel plans.

Flying home? Taking the train or bus? Catching a ride from a friend? Your family probably already knows that aspect of your travel plans, but let your parents know when you’ll be arriving at home and when you’ll be heading back to school. You don’t want to wind up stranded at the airport! Inform your roommates or friends when you’ll be leaving and when you’ll be returning, too, just so they have an idea of your whereabouts. If your travel plans change at the last minute—say, you’ll be a day late getting back to school—it’s a good idea to inform your roomie or RA so they don’t freak out and wonder why you’re missing.

2. Finish your schoolwork.

You will not want to study, work on homework, or write term papers during Thanksgiving break. Even if you have good intentions and head home with a suitcase full of textbooks, there’s a good chance little to nothing will actually get accomplished once you start spending time with friends and family. Be sure to submit anything that’s due before you leave. Plan for future projects, papers, and assignments that will be due as soon as you return, too. Rushing to wrap up a report that’s due two days after classes resume won’t be fun.

3. Secure your valuables.

Even if you trust everyone who lives in your dorm or apartment building, it’s not a wise idea to leave expensive stuff lying around. If at all possible, bring your laptop and iPad home or other portable electronics home with you. Wear any valuable jewelry or at least stash it somewhere safe that no one will look. You should also secure the room or apartment itself! Make sure your doors and windows are locked. Just make sure you bring your keys back to school with you or you may be charged a fee to open the door as well as a fee for replacement keys.

4. Pack wisely.

If possible, bring home your non-necessities now to lighten your load come winter break. Did you arrive on campus with 15 pairs of jeans and 20 pairs of shoes, only to realize that you needed less than half that amount? You’re not alone. Pay attention to luggage weight limits if you’re flying home so you don’t get saddled with fees for heavy bags, but take home as much as you can if you don’t really need it at school. Pack wisely when you return to school, too. Will you need a fancy dress for an end of semester event, or has the weather gotten so cold your lightweight jacket won’t cut it? Bring those things from home to save costs!

5. Make plans for your vacation before it begins.

Call, text, Skype, or email your parents, family members, and friends. Are Mom and Dad promising every member of the extended family that you will drop by and say hello, even though you reeeally don’t see the need to visit with your great-great aunt or second cousins? Are your high school friends planning a mini-reunion that you’re itching to attend? Even if they are just tentative ones, plans made before college Thanksgiving break will be helpful once you arrive at home. We promise.

6. Schedule doctor’s appointments.

If you need refills on prescriptions or you’re due for a dental exam, schedule appointments now so you can see your regular medical professionals when you are back at home. Keep in mind, though, that some doctors and dentists may have limited office hours due to the holiday.

7. Hang out with your school friends.

Be sure to hang out with your roommate (if you get along, that is!) and other school friends before heading home. You won’t see them for a few days or possibly a week. If you’re a freshman, you most likely didn’t even know them until a few short months ago, but they’ve become an important part of your life. Grab a bite to eat, see a movie, or browse the stores. Just hang out and enjoy one another’s company before the holiday stress begins.

8. Be realistic.

That’s right, stress. Holidays can be stressful even though they’re supposed to be fun and festive. Things don’t always work out as planned when it comes to any vacation (or anything in life, as a matter of fact.) Before you leave for Thanksgiving break, take a deep breath and remind yourself to stay calm and enjoy your trip!

More Reading:

A New Thanksgiving Tradition: Potluck Dinners with Friends

College Guide to Spending Thanksgiving Alone

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Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.


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