By Aya Burton ’22
As the leaves change color and cover Elm Tree Lawn, temperatures begin to drop (albeit marginally), and the days grow ever shorter and darker, Scripps students don their sweaters, sip hot spicy chais, and look forward to Thanksgiving Break as a respite from many sleepless nights spent studying. In an ideal world, Thanksgiving Break is a time to catch up with loved ones, engage in some overdue self-care, devour homemade pumpkin pie, or finish that book you’ve been reading for ages. For too many, however, Thanksgiving can be a contentious, stressful, or even lonely time depending on whether you’re spending it with family, at a friend’s, or on campus. Below are some tips for a smooth, rejuvenating, and generally successful break.
A Break on Campus:
Make the most of fall in Claremont
When classes are in session, it can be easy to miss Claremont’s subtle seasonal changes. Now that you aren’t rushing from lab to office hours or brunch, spend an afternoon strolling across the campuses at a more leisurely pace, taking in the fall colors and enjoying the temperate weather. Make a stop for coffee or check out the Village’s farmer’s market. If you’re feeling extra autumnal, bake some pumpkin bread in one of the kitchens on campus or read a book on Pomona’s lawn while wrapped in a cozy scarf.
Get ahead of the game
Use the quietness of campus to your benefit and grind out some reading, studying, or outlines over the long weekend. Without the distraction of peers or parties, you’ll be able to get ahead on assignments while still maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Just think of how grateful your future self will be when finals season rolls around and you’ve already prepped some research or solidified your understanding of core concepts.
Catch up on correspondence
Now is the time to make the Facetime call you’ve been intending to make for months, respond to emails piling in your inbox, and write back to your penpal whose letter has been sitting on your desk since September. Just because you’re staying on campus doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and give thanks to those near and far – even a quick text message will let someone know you’re thinking of them.
A Break with Family or Friends:
Dodge or redirect unwanted questions
If spending the break with relatives or family, you’re bound to be interviewed by your immediate family or your friends’ nosy great-aunt about your relationship status, that calculus exam you really don’t want to think or talk about, and parties you know won’t make for acceptable Thanksgiving table talk. Rather than lashing out or responding passive-aggressively to such inquiries, distract the person by offering them a dish of cranberry sauce or complimenting their cable-knit. Better yet, pass the question along to your cousin at the other end of the table while pretending to chew an especially tough piece of turkey.
Ask questions back
Before arriving at wherever you’re spending Thanksgiving, brainstorm some questions of your own. These will not only serve as excellent deflections but will also show you care and make the evening pass smoothly and quickly. Use them whenever conversation at the table gets overly heated, personal, or controversial for your taste. Some may call this back-talk, but it is arguably a strategic way to maintain some privacy and keep the table conversation at a safe equilibrium.
Catch up with friends, family, on that book or television series you’ve been dying to finish, on laundry – anything you’ve been putting off for too long this semester. Take advantage of the long weekend by rekindling connections with those you see only intermittently.
It is, after all, Thanksgiving. Try to be patient with family members and relatives and enjoy whatever moments you can over the break. Spend time with siblings, friends, or pets you haven’t seen in a while; help out with the dishes and cooking. Reach out to those near and far for whom you are grateful to have in your life.