Tips On Surviving Thanksgiving Dinner Questions

Tremendous Tips And Tricks For Surviving The Endless Thanksgiving Dinner Questions

We all could use a few pointers here and there.


Thanksgiving is the first, if not second, time during the fall semester when college students travel back home. It's a nice break from the busy and stressful fast-paced environment we've been living in for 10+ weeks. Since I attend college 10 hours away from home, I always look forward to this holiday because...

It's the first time in 3 months that I get to come home and see all of my family

I get to enjoy my dad's cooking and actually have time to sit and enjoy meals without being rushed

I can catch up on TV shows that my family's recorded on DVR

I won't be judged for wanting to do nothing

NO HOMEWORK (well, if you're lucky)

You can actually sleep in past 8 a.m.

... The list goes on.

Despite all of the amazing things that come with Thanksgiving break, there are always the dreaded questions that every college student is asked multiple times in conversation from different family members. Here are the most frequently asked questions you've probably been asked or will be asked this Thanksgiving:

How's school?

What classes are you taking?

What's your major again? How do you like it?

Are you doing any outside activities? How are they going?

Are you making any new friends this year?

Anyone special in the picture? Why not? How'd you meet?

Did you vote in the midterm election? Why not?

If you're a senior in college, boy are you lucky! You'll be asked a whole other set of questions in addition to the general ones:

What're you thinking of doing after graduation?

What kind of job are you looking for?

Have you applied anywhere?

Have you heard back from anywhere?

Where are you going to live?

So, how do you survive these endless questions that you're bound to be asked?

1. Be patient

Sure, you'll probably be asked the same question 7 or 8 times over the course of the day and you'll probably get annoyed towards the end, but you just gotta remember that your family hasn't seen in you in months and is excited to hear about everything you're doing. Take it as a compliment that everyone's missed you and is curious about your life. Show off all of your hard work and just keep an open mind.

2. Don't get too emotional

You can't get too emotional over certain topics of conversation. Of course, you're sad to graduate college in a semester and feel like the last 10 weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye but it's not the right time for a sob fest over not wanting to be an adult. If a conversation about politics comes up, try to keep a polite and neutral attitude, especially if you don't agree with something. Getting really heated over a political issue is probably going to create an uncomfortable environment for at least a few people.

3. Know your info beforehand

You can probably already predict what you're going to be asked and maybe even by what specific family member. So why put yourself through the trouble of struggling to find an answer at the moment when you're under pressure? Prepare a few things ahead of time that you think is most worth sharing with your family. Think of it as a mini interview and you're giving a casual version of an elevated speech.

4. Ask questions back

No one ever said the conversation had to be all about you. If you get tired to saying the same thing over and over again, direct the conversation towards a family member and ask about how they've been and what they're up to. It's a good way to have a break from talking and you can catch up on your family members' lives and maybe learn a thing or 2 about adult life.

5. Change the subject

If you've exhausted talking about your classes or feel like a shift in conversation would be less awkward, by all means, go for it. Some topic suggestions:

TV shows/movies

Plans for the Christmas holiday

Gift ideas/suggestions

Black Friday shopping

Ask for advice on anything

The most important thing to remember is that you're lucky to be spending a day of thanks with the family who love and care about you!

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.


In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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