A Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving Break

More stories from Becca Malachowski

Syracuse Winter Fair
February 1, 2019

A Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving Break
Becca Malachowski ’20, Arts and Leisure Editor

It’s that time of year— pre-Christmas commercialism, preparing for finals and of course, Thanksgiving break and a home-cooked meal. But for some, going home for the holidays can be stressful, and not the much-needed break you need. Whether it’s traveling, school work or family that’s stressing you out, I’ve come up with some tips that can help decrease those holiday jitters.

I love lists and planning out my day/week. I love knowing what I’m doing when and how long it’ll take me to do it. Now if this isn’t normally you, I get it, obsessing over every little detail isn’t for everyone, you may at least want to make a rough outline of what your Thanksgiving break might look like. How are you getting home? If a parent is coming to pick you up, awesome, but if you are set on other means of transportation, like a train or a bus, you really should get ordering those tickets. I have just learned that train tickets start to sell out like, really fast, especially around the holidays when tons of people are trying to make their way home. If you’ve got your plan down for travel, maybe it’d be a good idea for you at least to think about how you are going to spend Thanksgiving, whether it be where, when and with whom. If your family is a little hectic, like mine, I always like to figure out in advance what the plans for turkey day are like, will I be staying on campus? If I go home who will I be staying with? Who’s going to drive me where? Etc. It’s always a good idea to be prepared. In my opinion, you can never plan too much.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have no homework over Thanksgiving break. I have never been that lucky, unfortunately. So, I always need to find new and innovative ways to keep myself on task over holiday breaks. I have numerous alarms and timers on my phone to help me allocate my time. If I need to write a paper, I’ll set a timer for two hours and then I’ll take a break, or I’ll set a timer to study for thirty minutes. This is also where planning in advance comes in handy. Honestly ask yourself, “realistically, what will I get done over break?” Then, you can make a schedule ahead of time and it will seem less overwhelming. Don’t bring homework you know for a fact you are not going to do. When everything is loaded in your backpack, it’ll seem like you won’t even have time to go home for the holiday. Plus, if you’re taking a bus or train, you may only be allowed one bag. This is where you prioritize and only focus on what would be due right when you get back to campus.

When dealing with a family member that can stress you out or be difficult (we all have at least one), it really is okay to take a break. Although Thanksgiving is a holiday to be with family, your own well being and health is still important and it is okay to take a minute or even an hour to be alone. Go for a walk, relax in your room or read that book you’ve been dying to start. Everyone when going home also gets pestering questions. Whether it be about politics or your social/love life, it is also okay to respectfully decline to answer or try to change the subject. Going home for a holiday can also stir up memories, pleasant and unpleasant. If you are struggling with a family dilemma, seek help from other family and friends who support you or make an appointment at the counseling center here on campus. We all love our families, but we still need to do what’s best for us even if that is spending less time with certain toxic family members.

Holiday breaks whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, can be hectic times of the year for everyone involved in planning the festivities. Just remember that although these times can be stressful, the objective is to relax and enjoy yourself, even if certain people begin to test your patience. Stay strong, take a deep breath and eat some pie. You got this.