First Years’ Reflections: Thanksgiving Break

Photo Courtesy: UVa Images

For first year students at UVa, Thanksgiving break is usually the first time to spend an extended period with their families and friends from high school. But being with loved ones can undoubtedly feel a little different after getting used to living in a dorm and spending all of one’s time with new friends in college. As students move into finals, we spoke to a few new ‘Hoos about the time they got to spend at home over the holiday.

For Lydia McVeigh, Thanksgiving break was the first time she could go back to her home across the country: Portland, Oregon. She says she enjoyed finally being able to see her family.

“I think it was more sad leaving this time than it was leaving for college just because the realization hit me when I went home than that now I’ll only be going back to my house on breaks, and my real life is at school,” McVeigh explained.

Many first years have already grown to appreciate the little things they once took for granted — eating home-cooked food and sleeping in the house in which they’d lived for so long.

McVeigh said that the best part of the holiday was seeing extended family and friends. But for her, getting to enjoy “the general comfort of home like showering in my own bathroom… without shoes” was also a nice touch.

But being reunited with family is not always full of just happy surprises.

“The worst part was probably realizing that now my car at home is my sister’s car as well so we had to negotiate car usage time,” McVeigh lamented.

On the other hand, not all students have as far a trek as McVeigh. Kelly Isbell lives in Northern Virginia and had been home a few times before break. For her Thanksgiving, she went to her grandparent’s house in the Chesapeake Bay area.

“When I was with my family for a while and then when I went back to [Northern Virginia] to be with my friends, it was hard thinking about how the only times I would be able to see them was during breaks or when I decided to go home for weekends,” she said. “It made me miss my friends and family a little bit more.”

The two students could definitely agree on one thing: the end of exams cannot come soon enough.

“I wanted a longer vacation in the sense that I wanted it to be Christmas break already, but I knew I had to come back and get things done before I could go on [that] break,” McVeigh explained. “I wouldn’t have wanted it to last longer and feel like finals were hanging over my head. I needed to go back to UVA to get things done.”


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