My First Thanksgiving: Questions, Questions, Questions

Note: We’ve asked our three first-year writers to write brief reflections on what it was like to be home (sometimes for the first time since orientation) over Thanksgiving break. This is the first post in that series.

The first Thanksgiving at home from college is full of good food, awkward moments, endearing stories and tiring questions about college. A good strategy I developed to avoid the basic but popular question “so, how is college?” at Thanksgiving dinner was to simply stuff my face full of food and mumble an incoherent answer with a mouthful of mashed potato. This tactic is an excellent way to evade that ill-fated question, but the constant gobbling also leads to judgmental stares, pointed gazes down the table at my new dress and searches for telltale signs of the “freshman 15.”

Really, there is no good way to answer “so, how’s college?” without inviting intrusive and judgmental questions to follow it up. If you say “oh, it’s good,” they ask about your favorite parts, or if you respond with less enthusiasm, they assume something is terribly wrong and you’re lying and they need to pry it out of you at the table in front of everyone. If you say “oh man, it really sucks” they assume you are joking and laugh awkwardly; then, when they realize you are serious, they smother you with good intentions and hugs. It’s best to just stuff your face and say “mmhmmhm” and gesture at your exaggeratedly full mouth in response instead. Continue reading