As Penn State campus empties out and students head home for Thanksgiving break, it makes me sad to think that I’ll have to spend an entire week without Dear Old State. When I was looking at colleges, someone gave me the advice that if you really look forward to summer vacation/breaks, you’re not doing college right. They were entirely right. Every time there is a break, I feel like I am Harry Potter leaving Hogwarts to head home to Privet Drive. This is the dork in me, but I always think of the quote from the first Harry Potter movie which is totally appropriate for this. That is not to say that it’s not normal to miss home, to love your family and friends from home, and to look forward to a relaxing break from school once in a while– but when you love your school as much as I love Penn State, you have to come up with some motivation for these breaks to remember that being away from school isn’t the end of the world. Here are my top things that I think Penn Staters look forward to over Thanksgiving break (or really any holiday break/trip home)!:
1. Getting to see my dogs
Text message updates with pictures of my dogs throughout the semester simply are not enough! Everyone knows that the worst part about college is not being able to take your four-legged friend along to your dorm or apartment, so seeing them at home is always that much sweeter of a reunion!
2. Seeing my family
I have been lucky because I’ve never been one to get homesick during my time in college, but I love being able to see my dad when I come home. We have our traditions of the special places that we like to go to, the movies we watch, and the meals we eat together. It reminds me to call more often and catch up more frequently when I go back to school because that can really make your day!
3. Indulging in home-cooked meals
When I give tours as a Penn State Lion Ambassador, I always tell my groups how many fantastic food options Penn State has both on and off campus– and I’m never lying. However, as creatures of habit (and college students), we tend to eat the same things over and over. Case in point– by the time Thanksgiving break rolls around, I have gotten completely sick of Easy Mac, I’ve run out of Uncrustables, and I think I may have started a new world record for consecutive days of Chick-fil-A nuggets eaten for lunch in the HUB. I cannot wait for the roast turkey, the mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie (and everything pumpkin flavored around the Thanksgiving holidays), and buttered rolls.
4. Catching up with high school friends
Something that freshmen may worry about is keeping in touch with high school friends and still having people to see when you go back home. As someone who graduated from high school nearly four years ago (wow…), I can speak on behalf of my fellow seniors that while many of us may not have as many high school friends as we did in high school, most of us all still have a small group of the closest friends that we still make the effort to keep in touch with. Through the years it’s fun seeing how everyone grows and where everyone ends up from where they initially thought they’d be.
5. Sleeping in a big bed, and no alarm
This may not be the case for everyone in college, but I wake up early every single day. I don’t waste any time getting started on my day and trying to be as productive as possible. I can’t remember the last time that I just allowed myself to catch up on sleep or turned off the alarm. Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to do just that. Not to mention the fact that you get to go back to your old room at home that most likely has a bed that is bigger and more comfortable than the one in your dorm or apartment.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving break, everyone!