For most families, Thanksgiving is a time where everyone gets together to share a coma-inducing meal and to kick off the holiday season. This sounds like every college student's dream—eating concerning amounts of food and sleeping it off for the rest of the weekend as you lounge around. Missing out on these traditions is pretty sad, but this is my second year not going home for Thanksgiving and it's certainly not the end of the world.

Why I Didn't Go Home

chicken, sauce
Helena Lin

In my case, going home for Thanksgiving wasn't a reasonable trip. Not only would the four-day break barely give me time to digest my turkey before I'd have to head back to school, but attending school so far from home makes travel an expensive hassle. Additionally, my school is on the quarter system and winter break occurs barely two weeks after Thanksgiving.

Like I said earlier, this was my second year not coming home for Thanksgiving. Last year, my parents flew up to see me at school, but this year my parents made other plans. I was invited to spend the holiday with a friend who lives with me, and her family. My friend also invited her roommate, a mutual friend of ours, to join us. 

Although I was excited to spend time with friends, I started to feel nostalgic about missing out on a Thanksgiving at home. My roommate's cinnamon-scented candle reminded me of my mom's apple pie. While I was at the grocery store, the family laughing and talking in front of me at the checkout caused me to think about spending time with my own family. 

Thanksgiving Spent With a Friend

chocolate, cake
Rachel Weitzman

Then, I started to dread going home with my friend. I knew I'd see how happy and close my friend's family was, and I was afraid that would make me miss home even more. I was also worried that I would feel lonely.

The day before Thanksgiving, my friend's dad helped us pile the ridiculous amount of stuff we packed in the trunk and drove us to their house just north of campus. Walking into the warm and delicious-smelling kitchen began to thaw my sadness about being so far from home for Thanksgiving.

For the entirety of the break, my friend's family did their utmost to make me feel welcome and full of the delicious food. Whether I was pitching in to help with the dishes or laying on the couch watching the a Harry Potter movie marathon, I felt like I was at my home away from home. 

feast, vegetable, platter, meat, salad
Megan Prendergast

I was actually sad to go back to school and leave my friend's house after the holiday was over. While going back to dorm food was hard, it was also difficult to let go of the warmth and kindness that I felt in my friend's home. Spending Thanksgiving away from home isn't so bad when someone else welcomes you into theirs.