I never really appreciated Thanksgiving before college. Sure, it was a great day to stay home from school, watch giant balloons parade through Times Square, and eat rolls and pie (as the world’s pickiest eater, I wouldn’t even touch turkey until seventh grade). But this year, things are different.
In college, Thanksgiving is an island in a sea of academic obligations. It comes after almost an entire semester of projects, readings, and exams, and just before we all drown in the monsoon that is finals week. Thanksgiving is a promise we make to friends and loved ones in August. Hugs behind packed cars are cleaved only with the forcefully cheerful “I’ll see you at Thanksgiving!” Thanksgiving lets us escape just for a few days- enough to see everyone we care about, but not long enough to get sick of them. It gives us a chance to breathe, but not too deeply, (that will come in December) just enough to catch our breath so we can make the final sprint to Christmas. Needless to say, I’ve never appreciated the pilgrims’ famous (or infamous depending on how cynical you’re feeling this Holiday season) friendship with the Wampanoag tribe more than I have this year.
Maybe I’m just more aware of it, for Goucher has certainly been preparing me for the feast that is to come. Pearlstone had a special Thanksgiving offering the week before the big day; the whiteboard on my door has been decorated with clinging turkeys for weeks, and who could not feel in the Turkey day spirit after Stimsgiving? As a freshman, I found that particular experience to be rather overwhelming, albeit delicious. I’m not opposed to lines; I’ve waited outside of my fair share of movie theaters at midnight, have stood on an Amsterdam sidewalk for over an hour outside of the Anne Frank House, and have even braved the Heubeck stir-fry line; but never had I encountered anything quite like the mass of hungry students that was Stimsgiving.
While it will never replace sitting around a table to eat a turkey my father carved (I DO eat turkey now), Stimsgiving certainly gave me a warm and fuzzy “approaching holiday” feeling. I looked around the table at my assortment of friends and hall mates and realized that I have twice the family to be thankful for this year. I am incredibly lucky to have both a family waiting for me at home, and a group of friends on campus who feel like brothers, sisters, and, yes, in some cases, mothers.
So this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the reprieve from assignments and tests. I am appreciative of the home and family I have waiting with a table laden with stuffing, turkey, and sweet potatoes. I am indebted to the island that offers me shelter for a brief five days. I am blessed for the opportunity to continue my quest of eternal learning at Goucher. But above all else, I am eternally thankful for the family that I have found amongst the students, faculty, and staff.