For first-years going home for Thanksgiving Break, the first Thanksgiving home can be enormously exciting but also nerve-wracking. You haven’t been home since either August or October if you went home for fall break, and you likely haven’t seen your high school friends since you all left for college with teary eyes and packed cars. A lot changes in three months. Perhaps you got a new piercing, have a significant other, party more, or party less. College is a time of incredible growth, but with growth comes change, and there is no other time more poignant than the first Thanksgiving Break to realize and feel that change. We asked our upperclassmen writers a few questions about their first break home.
What were your expectations going into your first Thanksgiving home?
Literally all I cared about was hugging my mom. I don’t remember having any grand expectations or anything. I just wanted to hug my mom (and dad and sister) and have some time away from school.
Honestly I was just super pumped to get a home cooked meal. Not much has changed.
I didn’t really have any. I was mostly just excited to shower barefoot and sleep in my own bed and see my dog.
What was it like being home the first time for Thanksgiving?
Basically, it was an awesome retreat for me, and a great break from Kenyon during a rough semester.
It was weird. I kept making plans with my friends and I started to figure out which friends from high school I was probably never gonna talk to again.
It was a little weird in that the family I saw is more conservative than most people on campus and also had a lot of opinions about what I should be doing regarding my hair and classes (“You should do purple highlights next!” “Who’s in the philosophy department? What do you mean you haven’t taken a philosophy class???”) It was nice to see my high school friends!
What advice would you give to first-years for their first Thanksgiving home from college?
Take it slow. The first semester of school is tough, and a lot all at once. Spend some time just laying in your bed, remembering what your comforter feels like, hugging a favorite childhood stuffed animal. Connect with your friends and family, but remember that your opinions may have changed since the last time you saw them. My advice would be not to rock the boat too much. Remain steadfast in your beliefs, but remember that Thanksgiving is a day of thanks, for you to be with your family/friends, and no one wants to fight. Hold it in and write a nasty Tumblr post later that night, or something. Get/give lots of hugs.
You’re probably going to enjoy it and it’s gonna be awesome to be home and take barefoot showers, but it’s okay if you miss school or get a little sick of your parents. It’s normal and you can both enjoy your break AND be a little weirded out.
Your family will probably be the same as they were when you left, but you’ve changed a lot over the last few months, and it’s important to be aware of that when your grandfather starts saying stuff you didn’t realize was problematic and the rest of your family starts laughing along with him. Also try to get out of the house at least a couple times and make an effort to see your friends who are also home!
Things might have changed at home since you first left. Just as you got used to life at college, your parents and family got used to you being away at college. Give this time and patience; one week will not determine the rest of your life and will definitely be over sooner than you think. Keep in touch with Kenyon friends if you want, but definitely don’t keep your nose in your phone all week. Also, if you don’t feel different from when you left for college don’t try and make it seem life you’ve done a 180 and are suddenly a new person. Be yourself and treasure this time with your family and friends; it’s all too precious.