How to Handle Politics At Thanksgiving

How to Handle Politics At Thanksgiving

Hey, sorry, I have to eat more food

As many students are preparing for the trek home for Thanksgiving break, many of us are also mentally preparing ourselves for the inevitable discussion of politics at the family Thanksgiving event. Of course, families may not differ in opinion, but extended family may be a whole other story for some of us. Before this Thanksgiving event, it would be beneficial to be aware of your family members opinions and political views because these can somewhat predict how to handle the situation of politics and the election coming up in conversation.

If and when a family member asks what you thought about the election, establish whether said family member would appreciate your sharing or proceed to list all the ways in which you are wrong and how he or she is right. It can be nice to share opinions and agree to disagree or agree to agree, but if someone is just going to berate you, then it is honestly not worth the trouble.

Anyways, whether you just plain old do not want to bring it up, or you need some go-to advice for how to get out of a sticky situation, this list is for you!

1. Avoid Question and Create New Subject

Instead of sharing your opinion about the election, you can share what it felt like to be on a college campus during the election. This subject is so much easier because you can share the various opinions of other students and what the college did to encourage meaningful discussion, or just your reflective thoughts of the campus atmosphere. This way, you avoid the question with a new subject, but do not have to risk being told you are wrong.

2. Escape to the Restroom

Of course, avoiding this conversation may not be so easy, so using the restroom as an excuse can give another family member enough time to start a conversation with the other family member who is persistent in hearing your opinion. Subject averted and mission accomplished.

3. Ask For More Food

Food is always an excuse because you are supposed to be the returning college student who barely has time to eat and now is the time to replenish your body and enjoy a home-cooked meal. If the table is set up with food on it, then ask said family member to pass (fill in the blank) dish. If it is set up in another room, even better! Then, you can escape the conversation, get more food, maybe even check your phone and sit down hopefully avoiding the conversation.

4. Stuff Food In Your Face

As often is the case, you know a family member will not back down from this conversation, and you can stuff food in your face as a way to create more time for you to form an opinion said family member would want to hear, or a vague one. Also, you could try to talk with food in your mouth, though not recommended, but then no one would be able to understand you and hopefully your family member is more freaked out by your lack of manners than your opinion they did not hear.

5. Be Honest

If you really want to avoid this conversation, then you can say so! Explain to said family member how you do have an opinion, but you want to enjoy your time and this meal and would really rather discuss (insert other topic here). Keep a list of these topics in mind such as courses for next semester, future jobs, future events, experiences from the previous semester, courses from the previous semester, etc.

6. Ask Family Member About to Tell a Story

Especially with the family members who see themselves as "wiser," this tactic is great. Propose a new question to your family member's question about politics, "Can you tell me about your first time voting?" "What is your favorite memory from college?" "Tell me about (another family member)."

In any case where you have decided the family member will listen and not attack you or your opinion, then here is my advice in explaining your opinion.

7. Talk About Other Family Member

There are so many family members who love to hear opinions or gossip about other family members, so this is the perfect time to bring it up as a new subject.

8. Seek Help From Sibling

Everyone has that one family member who is the topic of conversation between you and your sibling, and because many sibling are so close, this is the perfect time to seek help. Even if you are not that close with your siblings, ask for help and tell them you owe them if they help you.

9. Break Out the Wine

In cases where a family member will most likely tell you your opinion is wrong, then it can be a great distraction to break out the wine and talk about it instead. Of course, this all depends on whether you are of legal drinking age or not, and if not, whether your family member would be offended by you having wine at all.

10. Text Friend For Back Up Plan

In any situation where me or a friend feels it will not go as plan and may need assistance getting out it, we always have a plan where one of us will text the other, then the other will call the first friend and pretend to be crying profusely and demand the support of the other. Then, the friend in the sticky situation will explain why she has to leave immediately. It would not be wrong to have the same sort of plan with a friend if a family member is berating you or taking a long time to explain his or her opinion.

Explanation (if you feel inclined and safe)

As you have decided to explain your opinion to a family member, keep in mind that he or she may not agree with you and although said family member will not tell you your opinion is wrong, he or she may want to spend time explaining his or her own opinion. This explanation can take a long time, and if you really do not want to hear it, use any of the excuses listed above. If at any time, you realize the family member will insult you for your opinion, then you can walk away or change the subject. Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy, not a time to be manhandled for a differing opinion.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

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A Letter To Me, The Girl Who Overthinks Everything

It's a weakness and a strength.


Dear Me,

In the past few years of your life, you have hated yourself for your overthinking. I want to take the time to tell you right now that your overthinking is not always a weakness, but it's a sign of your strength. And you need to see that.

I know it's a dreadful feeling. A chill runs down your back. Your mind starts racing. You need to keep moving or your mind will start screaming. You think you'll go deaf from your own thoughts. There's no moment of peace. You think you're going insane.

You analyze the texts. You think back to the conversations. Why didn't she look me in the eye? Why didn't they smile? Should I have said that? Why did I say that? You analyze every little detail to see what it means to you. You relive every mistake over in your mind until you make it right. It never ends and you hate it. But did you ever ask yourself why your brain works this way?

In the first 18 years of your life, you've been through and have done a lot. Probably more than you would like to admit. As a daughter of immigrant parents, you grew up finding your way, often on your own in the world. You needed to figure out life while teaching your parents about it at the same time. While most kids wanted to fit in, you needed to make sure you kept your Vietnamese culture. You've converted religions. You've been betrayed by good friends. You've been fat-shamed...and more. There were times where life felt like it was punching you in the gut, a million times over and you didn't know how to take it. So now, you overthink it.

Why? Well, do you realize how hard you've worked to get to where you are? You're getting awards, scholarships, and you're going to a fantastic college this fall. That's not because you sat back to let things be handed to you on a silver platter all your life. Don't get me wrong. You've been given SO MANY good things in your life, but there was also a lot of bad. Life swung at you when you least expected it. But you're here, aren't you? You overthink because you know what it is like to be fooled, and you want to know that you'll never be caught off guard again. So when life comes to get you, you're making sure you're ready to kick right back.

Another thing... Many people say you overthink because you care what other people think of you. But that's not it. It's actually quite the opposite. You overthink because you over love. All you want is to make the people in your life happy because that's what makes you happy. Life put you in their life for a reason. So, you're giving them all you have. Every little action is a chance for you to do that.

You want to do it all in your life. You overthink everything because if you do something, you're gonna do it right. Your mind needs to keep working. That's what it does even when its not supposed to.

You're strong. But you weren't always this way. Your overthinking is simply a side effect from being caught in the storm for so long. You're in a great place and you're on the way to do great things. No one can stop you now. But you still overthink it so it stays that way. This is how your brain works. It's a part of you and shows how far you've come. You're perfectly okay.

With love,

You, The Overthinker

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