The sighs of relief that college students have as we inch closer and closer to the week of Thanksgiving are prevalent at every university.
This point of the semester for students across all majors is difficult, and the thought of going home to enjoy food and just lie in a truly comfortable bed for hours is what keeps some students from going crazy.
For others, though, the thought of Thanksgiving brings nothing but stress.
You might assume the people walking around campus when the majority are home stayed in Boston because of travel issues or the unwillingness to spend upwards of $100 for a trip that lasts less than a week.
But no one considers the small group that just doesn’t want to go home or doesn’t even have a home to return to.
For some, a week with family doesn’t bring them a sense of relief — rather an added layer of stress. Some students could go home to find themselves fulfilling the role of a parent, babysitter or even feel like a maid.
Other times, people choose the colleges they do so they can learn how to be independent and be happy for who they are — finally giving that childhood version of themselves a chance to take a break from the set of expectations they had growing up.
When the thought of Thanksgiving rolls around, a moment of hesitation occurs with a consideration if the journey is even worth it with so many other options to consider.
It goes without saying that we all detest dining hall food, but when you’re with your immediate and extended family, there’s a good chance the food won’t be tasty enough to overlook their comments. They could potentially bring up past mishaps, ask you incessantly about your love life and bring up other topics that will have you wishing for awkward silence rather than having to listen to them.
To be vulnerable to the reader, I was forced to face this question myself.
Last Thanksgiving, I was excited to finally be home and see some of the same family members I would visit every other week. I had been so ready to show them this new and stronger version of myself.
This was quickly soiled by their first comment towards me being about my body. Suddenly, I was reverted back to the antisocial little kid who would quietly sit in a chair staring off into space hoping we would be leaving in any passing minute.
A singular comment like that might seem so minor, but to me it wasn’t. It instead brought back years of similar behavior — and even more or worse, especially after boundaries had been set.
For others, that breaking point can be so many other things. Anything from mean comments to acts of emotional or physical abuse can be broadly interpreted, but still affect people all the same — especially when one has to think about whether they want to subject themselves to a whole week of such behavior.
Even if one has a good family life, they may still have their own reasons for not wanting to return immediately. Being around family, whether good or bad, comes with a certain set of expectations and effort from someone who has been gone for a few months. Students may also be facing other struggles that they are not ready to talk about — no matter how well they know the person.
There is always a sense of lingering fear that everything will be different once they go back home. Having a week to really recollect oneself can be helpful, even if they have to have their emotional epiphany inside of a Warren Towers dorm room.
It’s such a difficult conversation to have with others — especially when some people’s home lives are so good they couldn’t even possibly imagine someone disliking their own.
Those who wish to stay on campus may feel pressure to plan out any excuse just in case someone questions why on Earth they would ever think about staying in their dorm room for the holiday.
Either way, during these times, it’s good to have someone to remind you that there is no problem in staying on campus — whether by choice or by necessity. Taking a couple of days to properly relax –– while there’s fewer people on campus so you can enjoy an empty dining hall or a chance to scream away your stress without concern that BUPD will send out an alert — is all completely valid.
Family can be a lot, and whether or not you have a choice in the matter, sometimes just laying in your dorm bed without the worry of classwork or someone coming in your room at any given moment is acceptable.
The best thing to focus on these upcoming holidays is yourself and what you need the most in order to feel like you’ll be okay moving forward.