Put away the costumes and candy, because Halloween is over and Thanksgiving break will be here before you know it. Most college students can’t wait to go home for a few days of relaxation, turkey, and bargain shopping before the stress of final exams begins. In your mind, it’s going to be the greatest long weekend vacay ever … until reality sets in.
We’re always reminded to expect the unexpected, but few of us actually listen to that advice. If you start preparing yourself now, you won’t be shocked when the following things happen during Thanksgiving:
1. Your parents / siblings / pets will seem different.
Look in the mirror. You’re not the same person you were three months ago. You’ve survived freshman orientation; you’ve learned how to tolerate living in a shoebox-sized room with someone you barely know; you’ve written papers on topics you never ever heard of before. The same is going to be true about your family and even your pets. Even though you’ve been in touch, you weren’t in the midst of things as they were happening. Warning—you’ll feel left out when your parents or brother laugh at inside jokes, and you might even feel like an outsider in your own home.
2. Your bedroom might be a home office / craft room / household storage space.
You were so excited to “get out on your own for the first time” that Mom and Dad may have decided to transform your bedroom into a computer room or quiet place to work on crafts. Your closet might be full of random junk that isn’t yours. On the bright side, at least you’ll be able to sleep in your old bed for a few nights!
3. You over- or underpacked.
It never fails. Whether you crammed your suitcase to the brim or only brought a few necessities, figuring that you had other clothes at home, you’ll wind up with way too many clothes or not enough clothes. It’s tough to perfect packing.
4. You won’t have as much fun with your high school BFFs as you thought you would.
Even though you stayed in touch via Facebook, Skype, and text messages, things will seem distant when you get together with friends. If your BFF stayed in town to attend the local community college, her experience is probably quite different than yours is—she might even be envious of the fact that you’re living on campus and going to a “real school” with dorms and Greek life. If it seems like all you talk about is high school and “the old days” when you hang out, it might be time to move on. You’ve got plenty of other friends at school.
5. Dating someone from back home? There’s a good chance you might get dumped.
These days, even the most serious high school sweethearts rarely make it to the altar. Video chat and phone calls are nice, but they aren’t the same as going out on real dates in person, which is why long distance relationships can suck. If you’ve been trying to make things last, one of you may have been stringing the other along until Thanksgiving break to break up in person. Getting dumped might possibly suck even more than long distance relationships do, but at least now you can make a fresh start and play the field without feeling guilty.
6. You will have to explain your major (or lack of major) and talk about your classes at least 15 different times.
In most households, Thanksgiving dinner is an ordeal involving distant relatives you only see once or twice per year, so get ready to talk about college with Grandpa Roger and Great-Aunt Gertrude. You may find yourself gritting your teeth as you tell the tenth person that you are enjoying your sociology classes but think business management is a better career path, but remind yourself that you were looking forward to Thanksgiving break!
7. Plans will not work out as planned.
Even though it may not be your style, some people live by the mantra that plans were made to be broken. If your high school cheerleading buddies were supposed to get together for a girls’ night out, at least one person will cancel at the last minute and the whole event may go down the tubes.
8. You won’t do any homework even though you brought your books home.
Most college freshman tote home their textbooks and notebooks with every intention of studying or wrapping up assignments that are due the Monday after Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter if your backpack weighs so much you had to pay extra to bring it on the plane—you’re not going to get much accomplished, if you get anything at all done.
9. You’ll be expected to help out around the house.
In your mind, you’re a guest because you technically “moved out” to go to college. In your parents’ minds, you’re simply their child. They will expect you to help cook Thanksgiving dinner, take out the trash, and clean up before the relatives arrive. Do the responsible thing and do your fair share of housework. After all, your parents are probably footing most of the bill for your education.
10. You’ll be itching to get back to school by Black Friday.
Despite the fact that you believed Thanksgiving Break was going to be your most relaxing experience of the semester, you’ll be ready to rip your hair out after the first two or three days. Your flight back to school can’t get here fast enough. Don’t feel guilty, though—you’ll be dying to come back again for Christmas!
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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