College is a breeding ground for change, exploration and independence. It is where we discover who we are, what we want and most importantly, how much we miss home. With the holiday season comes the opportunity to remember the constant comforts left behind when we moved out, the things that remain unchanged and offer a place of comfort when we need a break from the ever changing and unpredictable college life:
GOOD FOOD: Cooking an adequate meal in college is hard. At Oklahoma State 45 percent of students live on campus or in an affiliated Greek house. Fifty five percent live off campus and 30 percent of the off campus students live in apartments. This means that 70 percent of OSU students don’t have access to a full kitchen. Long gone are the days of hot meals from mom and leaving microwave meals behind for a week couldn’t come soon enough.
FREE FOOD: For most, returning home for the holidays means free food and lots of it. Everything in college wants our money. Student loans stack up, rent is always due and paychecks quickly evaporate due to the constant temptation of T-shirts and eating out. Thanksgiving brings the four magic letters that every college students loves to here, F-R-E-E. This time of year didn’t mean as much in high school because good food was always free and available. In the real world, the refrigerator doesn’t magically fill with our favorite foods like it once did and mom and dad aren’t picking up that dinner bill. Thanksgiving means family, family means food and food with family means free.
FAMILY: We complain about our family’s quirks and tendencies, but most every college student misses the unconditional love and unique weirdness of their family. Most of our peers don’t know us like mom and dad. Pulling into the parent’s driveway comes with a sense of relief because we don’t have to be anything or impress anyone at home. It is the ultimate sense of comfort and even though were itching to bolt back to Stillwater by the next day, being under their wing and knowing that were being taken care of in every way is a nice change from the uncertainty that college can bring.
APPRECIATING PEOPLE: As college students, we aren’t typically known for our attitude of appreciation. However, during thanksgiving, we are given the opportunity to take a break from youthful indifference and the need to be cool and be grateful for the things that often go unnoticed. From mom sending emergency money to the best friend bringing ice cream after a break-up, we all have people in our lives that deserve praise.
APPRECIATING THE LITTLE THINGS: In-between finals and follies, it can often be difficult to notice and appreciate the little things that make life great. Whether it’s the cup of coffee that wakes you up first thing in the morning or a pair of fuzzy socks that you turn to at the end of a long day, we all have little things that bring superficial joy. Thanksgiving season is all about appreciating the things that often go unnoticed and it pushes us to recognize the seemingly trivial.
TRADITION: College is a land of the new and undiscovered. As college students we are constantly moving and changing. The average non-Greek college student moves three times over the span of four years. Everything is constantly changing. From opinions to friends and trends, our world will never be more fluid than during these four years. Change is good but it is comforting to pause in an environment that we recognize, even if it is briefly. To go home and be in a familiar place, with familiar people acting out childhood traditions is a rejuvenating break from the chaos of college life.
I hope you get the chance this Thanksgiving to step back from the whirl of college to appreciate the little things, and important people, that make life worthwhile.
It’s good that you’re able to see the positive side of things. But that’s just a perspective. You can also look at college in a different way. I think it’s good to be able to entertain multiple views. Personally, I hated college, and felt a huge sense of relief once it was over because I wasn’t under control anymore.
“College is a breeding ground for change, exploration and independence.”
Yeah, but within the parameters of a set of rules and standards that society dictates appropriate, and only to a certain degree. You can be independent and free-thinking only to the extent that you remain under control of the dominant belief systems. It’s a breeding ground for change and exploration compared to living with your parents while in high school, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of what you can do on your own. It just makes you equipped to handle life under the control of your surrogate parents (government, society, hivemind/group think) once you’re “out on your own”