dear Thanksgiving-bound college freshmen:
Hey all of you cute little first-years,
First of all, before we begin, please don’t think I’m being condescending; as someone who has walked in your shoes, all I can hope is that I’ll prepare you a bit for the time ahead so you can come back better, wiser, and more badass. It’s nothing but love here!
I’m gonna give you guys some advice as you embark on the much-anticipated Thanksgiving break because if you don’t prepare, some things can sneak up on you. It is such a lowkey, underratedly important time in your first semester at college. What?! Important?! Huh?! DON’T WORRY, I got you covered…
This could quite possibly be the first time you’ve really been home since college started, so that just opens up a whole Pandora’s box of shit that could fly for your head…
Your hometown relationships are gonna be in a pretty weird place.
Your parents don’t know how to not parent you the same way they did in high school. Get ready for a bit of a home-life-readjustment-shock. But go easy on your parents, they missed you even more than you missed them.
Your friends have all been living their lives in different places with different people and different experiences, blah blah blah. It might be a bit awkward getting back into full-friendship-mode or it might totally not be. Either way, it’s super strange hearing all about their new lives without you. Don’t worry, it’s just a learning curve that’ll take a little time to grasp. Then you’ll be able to hear all about their new friends and actually want to meet them instead of wanting to get rid of them. For good. IF I CAN’T HAVE MY BEST FRIEND THEN NOBODY CAN! Yeah, that’ll go away.
Your high-school-turned-long-distance significant other… Eeeek. Hey, let me try and not be cynical: Being reunited with them will rekindle all of the love and respect you have for each other and cancel out any shitty moment that came from attempting to do long distance! They call it “turkey drop” for a reason… I’m kidding (kind of) but regardless, you’ve gotta prepare yourself before seeing this person because either it’ll be earth-shatteringly blissful to be with them again, or you guys have some serious chatting to do. Either way, always keep in mind your own happiness because that’s all you’ll have when you’re back at school miles and miles away.
Because the universe is a cruel, cruel place, you’re going to be thrown to the wolves as soon as you’re in the most comfortable place you could possible be.
You’ll get what feels like a split second to recuperate in heaven on Earth, good ol’ home sweet home, everything that represents joy...before being harassed by big-life questions. Thanksgiving was so beautiful when you didn’t have to make adult decisions, wasn’t it?
As if a couple of short months could illuminate your entire future, you’ll be expected to have definitive answers. My best advice? Make shit up. Sound impressive. But not TOO impressive. Maybe lying will actually give you an idea about what you wanna do in life.
Everything you consciously and unconsciously missed about being home will be dangled in front of your face for a few days, only to be ripped away too soon.
Remember coming home and somehow walking into an entire meal that you did nothing to prepare but get to eat without any questions asked? Or being greeted by cute animals who love you for no understandable reason? Or CLEAN, SINGLE bathrooms?!
Treat it like a dream. That way, when you abruptly have to wake up, you won’t feel as paralyzed.
Oh, and be careful of the food situation: I’d tell you to watch what you eat while you’re at home because I swear there’s something about college food + thanksgiving that gives you the freshman 15 over the course of 1 week… but, then I’d be a hypocrite. Eat until you can’t move, that’s what I plan on doing.
Those are the most important things I can think of to relay to all of you freshmen and freshwomen, but overall I have one more piece of advice to give away before your first Thanksgiving break…
Look, no matter how well you’re doing in college it’s going to be super weird going back home for an extended period of time. Everything can look the exact same and yet it all just feels so different. You might not even realize it until you get back but everyone else at home has been living their lives just as much as you have. For me, it was honestly terrifying. I was at a really rough point in college and felt stuck while everyone around me just continued moving forward. I used my Thanksgiving break to further convince myself that I was a failure and would never feel like myself back at school, but obviously I wish I hadn’t.
If you find yourself in a similar position, do what I wish I had a year ago: use your time at home surrounded by friends and family to remind yourself of who you are and always have been. Remember this so you can rebuild a bit of that confidence and then dive back into college with a little more determination. It’s easy to forget who you are when you’re surrounded by strangers, so use the times that you aren’t to breathe some life back into the college “you”... recharge those batteries a bit.