My First Thanksgiving: “My family may be a bit crazy, but I’m more than a bit crazy, too.”

Peppermint Patty was such a bitch in this special.

Unlike many Kenyon first-year students who returned home to partake in traditional Bacchanalian festivities with their high school friends, I did not. I have the misfortune of having friends with the bad judgment to pursue higher education in Canada or to get stuck in a Costco in rural Wisconsin for three hours while we’re supposed to be getting sushi (How does that even happen, Aparna?). And though I had a pleasant time going to all of the grocery stores in town to try to acquire Twinkies (we failed) and nearly getting hip-checked over a jacket at the mall on Black Friday (I was bigger than her) with my various other friends, I have to say that the most memorable moments of my break happened with my beloved and slightly insane family.

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My First-Year Thanksgiving: “It Was Weird”

Sometimes you win, sometimes the turkey wins. (via Wikimedia Commons.)

This is probably the fifth version of my “First-Year Thanksgiving” post. Each time I decided I didn’t like what I wrote, mostly because it’s hard to describe what going home for Thanksgiving is like. Basically, it was weird. Sure it was nice to be home, to see family and friends, but part of me missed Kenyon. My Thanksgiving story is divided into three parts: pre-thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner, and post-Thanksgiving.

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My First Thanksgiving: The Horrors of Hipsterification

All your friends will look like this by spring break.

Ah, Thanksgiving break. A time to consume irresponsible quantities of potato-based foodstuffs, grit your teeth and pretend to find your extended family delightful and marvel at how much your old friends have changed. Not I, however — last week, I flew home to New York confident that my best friend Jazmine would be the same as ever. Now, I know everyone thinks they and their high-school BFF were “practically the same person LOL!”, but seriously, we were on a whole new level. Affectionately known to our teachers and classmates as “Fric and Frac,” “Mutt and Jeff” or “Seriously, though, it’s kind of weird how much time you guys spend together,” Jazmine and I were the Brittany and Abby Hensel of our high school: essentially fused at the neck from day one of freshman year until graduation.

But when Jazmine sent in her deposit to Bard, a school notorious for a student body so aloof and avant-garde it could double as the audience for an Animal Collective show, I began to fear imminent change. I hate to judge a school by its stereotype — after all, Kenyon has more than its fair share of hipster identifiers (see “Horn Gallery, The” and “Flannel button-downs on campus, prevalence of”) — but The Huffington Post, which rated Bard #3 in its list of “Top 10 Hipster Schools,” describes the college as “a must-visit venue for touring indie rockers, who play in a converted garage called Smog.” A converted garage called Smog. God have mercy. As we said our tearful goodbyes before leaving for college, I made Jazmine promise she wouldn’t let Bard turn her into the kind of pretentious douchecanoe we loved to mock. Continue reading

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