Going home for Thanksgiving after three months of school can feel like the most liberating thing in the world. You want to see your family and friends, sleep in your own bed and share all of your stories from your first semester at school. But your perspective on things always changes when you come to UC Berkeley. College naturally changes your perspective on things, and when you sit down for Thankgiving dinner with your friends and family Thursday, it’s easy to slip up in conversation and say something you should probably avoid. We at the Clog came up with five things you should avoid during Thanksgiving conversation this year to help you survive the holiday in style.
1. Don’t forget that Berkeley culture is unique, to say the least.
Once you’ve become acclimated to the university, it’s easy to forget that other places don’t have regular protests, an unlimited amount of street vendors selling tie-dye, strangers yelling at you as you stroll through Sproul Plaza or that guy who does tai chi every evening in Wheeler Auditorium. Living in Berkeley certainly redefines your standard of normal. We’re sure your family wants to hear about your adventures from school, but before you share, consider each story’s “Berkeley factor” and keep the insanity in moderation.
2. Don’t argue politics with your grandma.
Going away to college — especially one as politically engaged as UC Berkeley — means it’s easy for your opinions on various issues to grow and change while you’re here. And if you have a friend or relative at Thankgiving dinner with whom you don’t see eye-to-eye and the conversation turns to race relations in the United States, well, things will get ugly. The best way to keep Thankgiving dinner fun and happy? Don’t engage. Don’t try to lecture your uncle on why his views on LGBT rights are incorrect or why his favorite presidential candidate is an idiot. Just … don’t. Agree to disagree or change the topic, and everyone will be happier.
3. Don’t assume your family is chill with all of the goings-on of college life.
College is a growing experience, that’s for sure, and you’ve probably gotten up to a fair amount here that your family doesn’t need to know about. Maybe your parents went to college and you think they get it. Regardless, you’re still their little kid, and they might not want to hear about anything that suggests you aren’t their darling little perfect child. Saying, “It’s chill, I have way more than this basically every Tuesday when we get smashed on beer pitchers at Cafe Durant,” isn’t a good defense when you try to get a glass of wine with your meal, and that story about that one co-op party can probably wait until you’re hanging out with your high school buddies.
4. Don’t compare anything about Thanksgiving dinner to the dining hall food.
We don’t care if your family friend just can’t cook that well or if you just have an irrationally high esteem for the desserts at Crossroads. Saying, “This tastes just like the ____ at the dining halls,” hurts the soul. Thanksgiving dinner is about love, friends and family, not mass-produced food that merely satisfies starving freshmen. On the other hand, bashing the UC Berkeley food will only lead to concerns about your well-being and quality of life back on campus. Do yourself a favor — leave the comparisons to Cafe 3 food back at Cafe 3.
5. Don’t pull the UC Berkeley card … unless you’re with the right people.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re sure your friends and relatives are very proud of you for all of your achievements, and we’re sure they want to hear about school and all of your hard work. But depending on who you talk to, they might only want to hear so much. For example, “pulling the UC Berkeley card” in conversation works wonders on grandparents who want to hear about how smart and talented you are. On the other hand, your older brother or your cousin might start stabbing their turkey with a fork and pretending it’s you after the fourth or fifth time you mention the “No. 1 public university in the world.” Be considerate, and only humblebrag as much as necessary.
Contact Kelsi Krandel at [email protected].