November is almost over and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Since I am from Los Angeles, I do not go back home because it is only for four…
Thanksgiving 2019 was the first Thanksgiving that I ever spent away from my family. Since I’m from California, I decided it would be too much work to fly home for the short holiday, fly back to campus for finals, and then immediately fly back to California two weeks later for winter break. As much as I love my parents, my brother, and my dog, they’re not worth that many 6-hour flights! So for the first time since matriculating to Tufts, I left the Greater Boston Area on a bus headed for Amherst, Massachusetts. There, I met up with my best friend from high school and spent the holiday with her aunt and uncle in their peaceful and rural New England home. On the Sunday before classes started, I got on a bus back to Boston and promised the family that I would return in 2020 for Thanksgiving in Amherst part 2.
Needless to say, those plans got cancelled.
This year, Tufts gave students two options for the Thanksgiving break: go home and stay there for the rest of the semester or stay on campus for the holiday. While many students decided to go home early and complete the semester virtually, I and most of my friends stayed on campus for the most bizarre Thanksgiving I’ve ever experienced.
Thankfully (no pun intended), spending Thanksgiving on a college campus was not nearly as painful as you might expect. As soon as the family members of my residential cohort learned that we would be staying at Tufts, they got to work individually to make sure that, at the very least, we would have a traditional meal on the fourth Thursday in November. Maddy’s mom shipped us mac and cheese, Max’s mom made us two pies, and my cousin and her husband cooked us a whole turkey meal, complete with gravy, stuffing, and my beloved Brussels sprouts. The six of us in my residential cohort put this haphazard meal together and ate dinner, taking the time to state what we were thankful for—the general consensus was our health and safety, our families, the delicious meal in front of us, and each other.
Our experience, from what I’ve heard, was not unique on campus. Most of my friends who didn’t go home for the holiday had a similar meal thrown together by the generosity of their parents and the residential hall kitchens. And for the students who weren’t able to get homemade food, the university made sure to offer free Thanksgiving dinners for all students who wanted them, regardless of meal plan qualifications.
On Black Friday, I went on a walk with 3 of my closest friends from freshman year with whom I haven’t been socializing as much this semester due to the extensive coronavirus regulations. As we made a massive, 3-hour-long loop around the Historic Medford neighborhood, joking and singing and pointing out our favorite houses, I found myself completely immersed in gratitude. This year has been...well, you know how this year has been. Insert your own adjective here and I would probably agree with you. But at the end of the day, I am healthy. I am loved. I am immensely privileged to be at a university that cares so deeply about my physical health and education simultaneously. I am surviving history, and that’s something to be proud of. And regardless of everything that this year has put me through, I still had a pretty wonderful Thanksgiving.