These Are the Best Ways to Enjoy Fall on Your Thanksgiving Break

These Are the Best Ways to Enjoy Fall on Your Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving is Just Around the Corner

You’re dying for some home cooking, and your hair needs a decent trim. Even though you’re so tired you could probably sleep straight through break, you’ve missed hanging out with hometown friends and that other thing you used to have — free time.

Don’t worry — we’ve compiled several restorative, invigorating and genuinely decadent ways to enjoy the season that are perfect for rebooting your energy levels and indulging in well-deserved downtime.

Build a Bonfire

Anywhere will do: the beach, a state park — even a spacious backyard. Enlist the help of friends to gather wood, and don’t forget to accommodate plenty of seating. Bonfires have a way of attracting folks!

If it’s a clear night, consider stargazing. Nightly sky forecasts help guide observations to reveal the most easily spotted constellations, as well as those of startling seasonal beauty.

Carve Pumpkins

Bring back a little piece of childhood by planning a pumpkin carve-off with family members. Up the ante — now that research is your middle name — by checking out pumpkin stencil templates.

Missing some distant family members? Proclaim them virtual judges and send your “entries” through social sharing mediums like Google Drive or Dropbox. They’ll get a real kick out of all your creations and the opportunity to share the spirit of the season with you.

Don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds. Roasting them in a little olive oil with salt makes a great companion to traditional seasonal sweets.

Go Apple Picking

Fresh air, sunshine and mouthwatering apples — nothing signals the harvest quite like orchard hay rides and bulging bags of just-picked fruit. Consider purchase of farm-made jarred products like apple butter and jam. They make excellent dorm room snacks with crackers or bread.

Cozy Up With a Movie

When the weather turns grey, cozy up with some at-home film classics, warm blankets and hot chocolate. Did you know you can make hot chocolate with peanut butter, or dark chocolate and orange zest? Go ahead, extend your comfort zone and start a new cocoa trend.

Got some friends who want in? Build a hot chocolate bar and allow guests to create their own unique concoctions.

Watch a Parade

A Thanksgiving Day parade, of course. If your town or local district doesn’t have one, there’s always the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. A Thanksgiving tradition since 1924 and chock-full of classic entertainment, the famous New York City event garners more than 50 million viewers every year.

Glam it up with some pre-turkey brunch to hold off hunger while dinner cooks. Consider grabbing takeout, since your kitchen will likely be jammed — most coffee and breakfast places are open before noon during the holiday.

Start a Pick-Up Game

Raid childhood closets and perhaps the garage for a football, frisbee, tug-of-war rope or just a few bright orange cones. You only need a couple of players for touch football or frisbee. But if you’ve got a good-sized game crew, organize a few rounds of tug-of-war and an impromptu obstacle course.

Chances are, you’ll find yourself laughing too hard to compete seriously, and sweating even in temperatures cold enough to see your breath.

Bake Seasonal Goods

What to do with all those fresh apples? Indulge in the comfort of home baking. So what if you’ve never made pie crust or used an electric mixer? With a few basic ingredients and a little patience, you can turn out seasonal breads and cookies to rival the pros.

The next best thing to apple pie and a much healthier option is apple crumb. Other than white sugar, brown sugar, flour and butter, the only slightly out-of-the-box ingredients required are rolled oats, cinnamon and your delicious orchard bounty. Apple crumb is oven-ready in just 20 minutes. It bakes for under an hour, making it as time-efficient as it is delicious.

Of course, anything with pumpkin is an ideal go-to this season. And it’s not such a deep secret that chefs all over the world use canned pumpkin puree in both sweet and savory recipes. There’s no need to destroy your carved masterpiece for a recipe!

Consider doubling simple pumpkin bread batches and freeze extra loaves for travel back to college. Don’t have a loaf pan? Make muffins and share the bounty with neighbors or your local fire and police department.

Starting to like this sharing thing? Use the same ingredients you gathered for apple crisp, plus milk, vanilla, egg and nutmeg, and turn out cookies perfect for plating and delivering. Feel free to add a personal twist by including chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberry or walnuts. Clearly mark the cookies that contain nuts as a precaution for those with nut allergies.


Do most of your childhood holiday memories include a not-so-faint football game soundtrack playing in the background, complete with penalty whistles and cheering? Keep the memory alive by putting together a tailgate party and embracing the football vibe.

If your local high school team is still playing, chances are they’ve made it to the playoffs. Thanksgiving weekend also hosts several classic college rivalry games — and then there’s the NFL. Throw some beach chairs, packed coolers and maybe a portable grill in the back. Make sure you’ve charged all your devices so you can play plenty of party-in-the-parking-lot tunes.

Can’t score tickets? Get creative and consider tailgating around an outdoor TV, or even in the driveway with the game on inside. Tailgating is a frame of mind, and it’s OK to bend the rules to fit your situation.

Take a Hike

Fall foliage is peak this time of year. Take the opportunity to view it in all its glory on a mind-clearing hike. Tranquil walks in the great outdoors offer a feeling of being quite small in a big world. Chronic worries begin to seem less significant, and your mind relaxes as your body works.

Fall break is an ideal time to slow down, have fun and connect with others far from the urgency of assigned papers and exams, even if it’s just for a little while. And, after all — winter break is right around the corner!

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!

After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out:

14. Some activities on my bucket list are...

This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...

What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Making a Decision: an Indecisive Guide

To all the indecisive people out there: you are not alone


I am the queen of indecision. For me, making a choice will have me frantically calling both of my parents, asking all of my friends' advice and postponing all studying until the decision is made. Of course, this is because I do not want to make a choice that I regret – such as the time I decided that starting my job at 6:30 am would be a good idea, or the time when I scared my friends with how hyper I was after drinking both coffee and Boba tea. Yet when I take this caution of making the wrong choice too far, the decision-making process itself ends up being regrettable. So much so that I called my mom approximately seven times this weekend to ask her advice on a decision. So much so that my brother used an example of me not being able to choose what kind of shoe I should wear in his article.

This weekend, I was presented with two amazing opportunities to make a difference in the world this summer and I entered a stage of decision paralysis that I did not know was possible. No matter which angle I looked at each situation from, they both would provide me with a phenomenal experience, and would both require sacrifices. Despite not (as of yet) reaching a concrete decision, I learned a lot about the decision-making process and what to do in the next time I am faced with a difficult choice. So, in the spirit of finding summer jobs, gearing up to register for classes and deciding what on earth we want to do with our futures, here are the tips and tricks that I would follow to make the best decision that you can.

Don't overthink it.

Really, this goes without thinking! Or, unlike most of us, it goes with a LOT of thinking! Seriously though, if you overthink things, they will turn into a pudding mush in your brain until you don't know what you don't know anymore. There is a very fine line between thinking through all your options and overthinking them – and judging by the number of times I called my mom this weekend, definitely crossed it.

Always use the pro-con list


Ah, the Gilmore Girls. Not only did you inspire me to read every single book under the sun or have a witty conversation full of cultural references no one else understands, but you also taught me the beauty of the pro-con list. Choosing what you want can be messy and difficult to find because of the fears you might have. distinguish from the fears. Writing it all down on paper can often illuminate the right decision and show you which path is ultimately better.

Decide on your make-or-break factor

Sometimes even the best pro-and-con lists will not be enough and will leave you in a frantic analysis ("should I go for the decision with 3 cons or 3.5 cons?") When even the Gilmore method fails, fear not! Consider which factors you truly do not want to compromise on and go from there. This can mean that even the worse decision may be the right one for you.

Trust your gut

As much as it is difficult to dig through your feelings to find your true motives behind a decision, your gut can sometimes tell you what you are most passionate about and therefore what decision is best for you to take. As my Emory Reads friends tell me, passion trumps everything. Choosing which decision aligns with your values will often lead you to make the best and most-satisfying decision.

But trust your head as well

But your gut can't always be trusted. It can lie to you, and when you overthink too much, it can change its mind. Your gut feeling may be one that is furthermore borne out of fear of the other option. In that way, I have made many a good decision based on the pure basis of rationality. Using only our heart to make important decisions allows fear to be one of the factors, whereas looking at the decision rationally can help you see the ultimate path.

Ask around

When I am puzzled about making a risky decision, I often consult the people in my life who are on my side and want the best for me. These people can help you gauge what your heart truly desires, bring up factors that you haven't considered and even act as a support network for you while making this decision. When your mind kicks into over-analysis, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to truly make a confident choice. Decisions are hard, people. Don't make them on your own.=

Don't ask everyone

There is such a thing as consulting others to make an important decision, and there is such a thing as relying on them to make your decision. If you ask too many people from too wide a pool, you'll end up having opinions for and against what you are proposing, which means that someone will always be disappointed in your decision. The bottom line is, asking too many people for their opinions is frustrating, no matter what – whether they have contradicting opinions, or they just nod their heads and go "hmmm, tough choice" (thanks, I guess?). In order to avoid frustration, consult the people in your life who know you the best and are dearest to you, rather than the stranger in front of you in line for fries at the DUC.

"Would my dad be proud?"

Or your granddad, or your mom, or your professor, or even a TV character. Whoever you know whose morals you can measure your decision up to will often provide reason and illumination. If the decision you are making is not too wild and you feel that you will have their approval, then it is likely not detrimental.

Stick with your decision!

Resolutely make up your mind and refuse to turn back. Exercise your right as a free individual to make a choice for yourself, and then do not second-guess it. Please don't do what I did and email a company two days later saying you've changed your mind. Please.

There is not always a right decision

Sometimes both decisions you are presented with have different but equally good opportunities. In that case, lucky you! You have two amazing opportunities and therefore cannot mess up. Rather than stressing that you are picking the wrong choice, know that you cannot go wrong in either.

Realize you will grow no matter what

Decision-making should be viewed as a challenge and a privilege rather than a burden. Make big, bold and beautiful decisions. Making up your mind can lead to a phenomenal experience that you will adore or a difficult experience that will only fashion you into a better person. Positive consequences can come out of any decision, even if we land in an upsetting position. Each choice we make can positively contribute to our character, fashioning us into the person we are becoming, day by day.

By the time this article is published, I will know my decision. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know yours. Let's continue to make decisions courageously, following both our heads and our hearts. Let's be determined to grow through our decisions, realizing that we have made the best choice we could, and never looking back.

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