Family tension is normal over Thanksgiving Break

Bridgette Windell

So you’ve been drowning in homework, tests and late night runs to Big Al’s. When you think that you just can’t take it anymore, it arrives — Thanksgiving Break saves you from a potential breakdown, which may have caused you to call your mom one too many times in a single 24-hour stretch.

When Thanksgiving Break hits, all you can think about is the glorious amount of rest to replenish your sleep bank, and the copious amounts of mashed potatoes and stuffing to fill your starving college stomach with. Blinded by the shining light at the end of the tunnel, only one thing could possibly rain on your (Macy’s Day) parade; and that is family dynamics of the holiday season.


Don’t get me wrong; I love my family. My parents are homies and my cousins are what the kids call “dope.” But for some reason, maybe it’s the early onset of holiday stress or too much sugar in the cranberry sauce, family tension always seems to occur when we get together around a single table.

The iconic Thanksgiving dinner starts off great. Friends and family that you haven’t seen in months walk through the door, hugs and kisses are exchanged and the dinner party grows and grows. After the initial “hellos” have been said, those estranged and distant family members start to pry into your life. Series of questions are fired such as: What are you majoring in? What are you even going to do with that art degree? Do you have a significant other yet? You don’t? Why not?

Then you look to your left and grandma seems to be arguing political views with your 10-year-old cousin. You pray you’re not next on her activism list because you didn’t really pay that much attention in your political science class. Instead of saving your younger cousin, you answer the bizarre questions from that distant family member with a train of “ums” and “I don’t really know yet.”

These questions can overwhelm you, and make you doubt the path you have selected in life. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in these situations. Anyone who has gone to college has also been in the same shoes as you. You question your motives and your decisions, but eventually down the line things will somehow fall into place. You will have a career, something of a love life and you will probably be making adult meals that somehow incorporate kale.

Your family just misses you. They want to know what you’re doing, because they really do care. Most of them are probably just reminiscing their college days and trying to live vicariously through you. Don’t take these questions personally, your family is innately curious.

Just because someone doesn’t understand your life decisions, doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing it right. Use that college brain of yours and engage in that political discussion with your grandma. You are most likely better equipped to execute an educated conversation than your 10-year-old cousin.

Everyone’s family has quirks and its normal to find yourself annoyed with being in close quarters with them, but try make the most of it. You will soon be drowning, yet again, in papers, projects and final exams.

Experiment with life decisions because you’re young and you can. You don’t need to have it all figured out. And when you’re ready to get away from weird family dynamics, college will be waiting for you. I think Asher Roth said it best, “I love college.”

Collegian Columnist Bridgette Windell can be reached at, or on Twitter @Bridgette_Rae.