College Hacks: Family Drama


Marc Murdoch '14, News and Features Editor

Five days. That’s how long we have until we’re finally on Thanksgiving break, and after that, it’s smooth sailing until the end of the semester. However, while Thanksgiving is often a time for turkey and buying the last batch of Christmas presents [or all of them], it can be a challenge for some people because you have to deal with family. Whether there’s one relative that just doesn’t get along with you or you hate your entire clan, there are a few things you can do to survive.

Remember that it’s temporary.

I’m probably going to be back on campus by Friday night, but I know a lot of you won’t be in that same situation. Even if you get home Tuesday afternoon and don’t return here until Sunday night, that’s still less than a week you have to spend with them. Especially if those you can’t stand are extended relatives, they’re most likely not going to be there the entire time you are, s try to keep things in perspective.

Realize that it is for them too.

You may not have seen them in over a year, but that means they haven’t seen you in that time either. To them, you’re this strange, older-than-they-remember young adult that they may be nervous about connecting with. Not nervous because you scare them, but because they don’t want it to be awkward either. I’ve learned that the worst thing you can do in an awkward situation is to focus on it being an awkward situation and try to get out of it.

You are a college student, though.

So if you need to slip off after dinner to “do some homework,” most people will understand. Just know that if you try to have your computer in front of you while claiming you’re working on a paper, you might want to have a  topic ready just in case someone asks.

No matter what, they’re still your family.

They love you, even if they may act completely off from time to time. It may seem like they’re hounding you for questions, but it may be because they just want to understand what’s going on [or there’s nothing else to talk about]. And they’re comments may seem snippy or passive aggressive, but they could just be trying to give you advice in some strange way.

When in doubt, ignore.

For some people, these may not be innocent comments and questions as some can’t help but stick their noses where they don’t belong. We all have that one relative who questions what you do, how you dress or who you associate with. The best thing to do is not react.

Again, this vacation is only temporary, and you don’t want to say or do anything that could cause a grudge or resentment for years to come. If it helps, you can pretend your relatives are your professors. You don’t want to say anything that could get you a bad grade now, do you? So when the questions start flying, just let them float on by.

Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful. Whether it’s being thankful you haven’t punched anyone in the face for three days or that your uncle forgot about that photo you posted online, try to find the good in it.