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Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and can be a time of great happiness or great sadness. You may be gearing up for a weekend of time with family and friends.  You are looking forward to your family recipes, family traditions, and time to relax before intense finals. On the other hand, you may not be able to travel home and back to campus for such aa short amount of time and then turnaround to return home during the semester break. This time is one that you should savor and enjoy.

Like many students across the country, you may be heading home for the holiday. This will be a great time of inquiries, updates, and sharing.  Your entire family will want to know how your life on camps has unfolded.  Be ready to eagerly share your major, your dorm life, and things that you enjoy and dislike about school so far. Everyone will want to know more about your interest, things you have learned, and how things are different or may have changed especially if they are an alumnus.

Some of you may need to stay on campus due to your distance from home, work responsibility, or another reason.  If you cannot make it home, do not let it get you down. You have other viable options that may be suitable substitutes to being home. You could be the guest of one of your friends/classmates.  It may not be your home, but it will give you the family feel and is a great way to strengthen relationships with your friends and to gain a second family.  Another option is to host a “Friendsgiving” celebration. This is a newer name for a concept that has been around for some time. A Friendsgiving allows you and others staying on campus the opportunity to come together to enjoy dinner, games and great conversation.  You can try out one of your family’s recipes and experience traditions from other families and cultures.

Thanksgiving is a great time to go home and cure any homesickness that you may have be experiencing, but if you cannot make it home, do not let it get you down.  This holiday is just the precursor to the semester break which will give you more than enough time to connect with your family. Use this time to regroup and prepare for finals. If you can make it home, enjoy the time with family and recharge your battery as you prepare to return to campus and complete finals.

Whether you stay on campus or go home for the holiday enjoy the time and Happy Holidays from your Interactive Resident Assistants.

It the most wonderful time of the year….or is it?  Thanksgiving and Christmas are great times to go home, take time away from school, and to refocus. Going home is a great time to reconnect with friends from high school and enjoy new friends you have met over the semester. Home is also a time to check in with the family and provide them with an update on your progress this semester.  Prepare share yourself.  Friends will want to interact with you, family will want their time with you, your partner will want to spend time together, and then there are the things that YOU want to do.

Be sure to communicate your plans to avoid disappointment.  Let your family know your plans; when you plan to come home, if you plan to sleep at home each night, nights you plan on going out with friends, how much you need to rest or catch up on reading. Whatever your plans are be sure to communicate them and be flexible if there are last minute changes.

If you have embraced a new sense of self, explored your new freedoms, or have a new outlook on life, that it may not be readily received from the family.  For almost two decades, your family and friends from home have known you a certain way, so coming home a newer person may be a surprise and may take some adjusting on their end. Be prepared for questions on your major, what you plan to do with your degree, how your dating life is progressing, what organizations are you a part of, etc.  Have answers prepared and sound enthusiastic to share.

Have you lost contact with old friends? You can use this time to reconnect and pick-up where you left. Find out what is new with them and share your experiences away from home.  Spend time with your partner and let them know how much they mean to you.  Long distance relationships are tough to navigate through and holiday breaks are a good time to reconfirm your feelings and commitment to each other.

Going home is a great time, but it does bring a certain level of stress.  You could be pulled in different directions and be expected to share yourself with everyone.  Utilize this time to catch up, but also enjoy the break and do things that will help you enjoy your break.

It is almost Thanksgiving time; which means you have survived more than half of the first semester, midterms, and homecoming. By now, you and your roommate should have a good understanding for each other’s preferred lifestyle. For some your relationship is one that is great, while for others you may be at your breaking point.  It is at this time you have to realistically look at the situation and determine can you tolerate the situation and make adjustments or do you need to explore the options you have at the time. Thanksgiving serves as a time where roommates can go home take a break, regroup, and come back to school refreshed to finish out the semester.

If you are experiencing roommate conflicts, you may want to use the Thanksgiving break to relax, focus your energy on something else for a few days, and determine a way for you resolve any issues you may have.  You will need to be realistic and ask yourself, is my roommate violating my rights or are they just not meeting my standard.  It is one thing to have a roommate who violates your rights as a resident, puts you in harm’s way, infringes upon your privacy, etc. There is also a distinct difference in the two of you having varying definitions of what it means to be clean, quiet, or how to entertain guests.  Decide for yourself what is acceptable for your living environment and what is not acceptable for your living environment.  After reflecting on your experiences and detailing examples, confirm how you feel about the issues.  A room (suite or apartment) meeting should be scheduled with your roommate(s) to talk with your roommate(s) and create house rules or complete a roommate agreement.  If you feel like you and your roommate are past amicably resolving the issues you will want to enlist the help of your RA.  Your RA is trained to help residents talk through issues and resolve any tension they may be experiencing.

Before you decide that things are just not working out and want to move, consider if you have done everything that you could do in the situation.  If rights are not being violated, it is probably a rather simple situation where you will need to compromise and meet in the middle.  Relationships are about compromise and realizing that someone does things differently than you may do things can be difficult to adjust to. Evaluate if your requests are reasonable. It is reasonable to ask your roommate(s) to discuss overnight guest prior to them staying, but it may not be reasonable to ask your roommate(s) to never have guests in the room.  It is reasonable to request that your roommate(s) not disturb you while are studying, but it may be unreasonable if you do not reciprocate.  You will need to compromise and meet in the middle and find a solution that will work for both of you.

If you feel your rights are violated or you have exhausted all possibilities, you may want to consider changing rooms.  It is not reasonable to say “they’re the one with the problem so they should have to move”.  For the sake of happiness you may have to be the person to move.  If the staff interjects they will ask who wants to move and if no one volunteers then depending on the issues all roommates may be forced to move.  It is okay to move on after you have done all you can in the situation. Right before (or during if possible) Christmas break is a great time to change rooms. It will serve as a fresh start when the new semester starts. You want to make the moving out process and smooth as possible. You never want to burn bridges, it is a small world and you never know when you may come across that person or someone that knows that person in the future.

Not all roommate assignments will work out.  It is important to remember to give differences a chance and not to be judgmental and closed-minded.  It may be awkward and require more attention at first, but as long as you develop and display a mutual respect for each other, you should be able to make it work for the short time you will be living together.  When your relationship hits a little turbulence, do not run away, stick it out and do everything on your end to make it work.

Thanksgiving is next week…can you believe it?

 Going home can be fun and relaxing, but it can also be stressful.  Often times you can be pulled in many directions that going home can result in not being as enjoyable as you’d hoped.  Mom and Dad want to spend time with you and see what you have been learning over the past two months, younger siblings want to spend time with their big bro/sis, friends from back home would like to hang out, significant others want time, and other family members would love to see how you have grown.   In addition to these expectations there are also be your priorities; working over the thanksgiving break, looking for a winter break job, or just time to enjoy sleeping in.  Take the next few days to plot out your course home.

  • Predetermine how you would like to spend YOUR days at home.  If you go home with a schedule and checklist of all of the things you would like to accomplish you will not be overwhelmed when your attention is pulled in varying directions.
  • Be flexible to changes in your schedule. You may not be able to accomplish everything you hoped you would be able to. 
  • Be sensitive to everyone’s desire to be with you.  As excited as you are to go home, home is just as excited (if not more) to see you. 
  • Be honest! Do not brush people off or make promises you do not intend to keep.  If you cannot commit to something let them know and plan something for winter break.
  • Have fun! Going home should be enjoyable and become fewer and far between as you progress through college.  Enjoy the time while you have it.