Thanksgiving survival guide

Thanksgiving Table
Ciera Holzenthal/Creative Commons

It’s that time of year again, Bears. Scarier than Halloween, more stressful than finals week and less fun than a trip to the dentist, Thanksgiving is a day fraught with peril for college students. We at the Clog know your pain, and we want to make sure that you survive this holiday break without tearing all your hair out. Check out our guide to navigating some of the most common (and most uncomfortable) situations you may encounter over Thanksgiving weekend.

Someone asks about your major: “What are you going to do with that?”

There’s really only one answer to this question: “Uh … get a job, I guess?” Relatives love to ask this, especially if you’re pursuing a humanities or liberal arts degree. If you really don’t feel like explaining your life choices to every second cousin and both sets of grandparents, we recommend that you just make something up. Pick a job and stick with it for the week as an easy deflection for the derision you’d otherwise face from your family.

Any comment about “Berkeley liberals”

Every UC Berkeley student (even the more conservative or moderate ones) have faced some kind of remark from a relative that makes fun of the liberal culture at UC Berkeley. Even if you don’t smoke weed, have never attended a protest or don’t own a pair of Birkenstocks, these rude generalizations can still sting. You could always go the route of the “meninist” movement and cry, “Not all UC Berkeley students are like that! I’m not like that,” or you could be honest and tell your oh-so-hilarious uncle that you don’t really like those jokes. Honesty is the best policy, after all. Or, if your family is a bit more on the chill side and the jabs don’t bother you as much, sarcasm is a great way to diffuse and distance yourself from the stereotypes (just make sure they can tell you’re not being serious).

Forgetting something in Berkeley

One bus ride, two BART changes and a 30-minute car ride later, you finally reach home — only to realize you left your laptop (or rain jacket, or glasses, or homework) back in your dorm or apartment. Don’t panic: You’ll be able to make do for the next five days. Sure, this might mean sharing the family computer (just use incognito mode), or wearing your old glasses for now (at least the Coke-bottle look is kind of trending again), but you’ll make it. Probably. We hope.

That aunt goes on a political rant

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and pray that someone brings out the pumpkin pie soon, because that aunt has an opinion about the most recent election, and she’s decided to share it. We at the Clog have just three words of advice if this happens to you: DO. NOT. ENGAGE. Stay out of it. Fill your mouth with mashed potatoes so you can’t talk. Offer to help with the dishes. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Do whatever you can to avoid starting this fight. If someone else starts this argument, though, just sit tight and (if you’re over 21) raid Grandma’s liquor cabinet.

You overeat

There’s no need to be embarrassed, Bears. We’re all going to do it. If, at the end of the meal, you don’t feel slightly sick and your jeans still fit, then you didn’t eat enough. If you do feel sick, however, don’t stress. Take it easy for the rest of the weekend as you digest and prepare to walk the hills of Berkeley again come Monday. We promise that you’ll burn off those extra calories with just a few trips from Sproul to Cory Hall. Failing that, take a leaf out of Oski’s book and just go straight into hibernation.

Now you’re ready for whatever Thanksgiving break might throw at you. Have a great break, UC Berkeley, and we’ll see you soon!

Contact Jamie Campbell at [email protected].