Thanksgiving at Mason

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

Students who can’t go home for Thanksgiving share their experiences


While Thanksgiving is a national family holiday in the U.S., not all students are able to travel back to see their family during the five-day break, and have to find ways to celebrate on campus.

Americans tend to travel to spend time with their loved ones, especially around this time of year. According to the AAA, one of the oldest automobile organizations in America, about 50.9 million Americans were projected to travel for Thanksgiving in 2017. However, for some Mason students, travelling home for the holiday is not always an option due to many reasons.

The lack of financial resources is a common one. During Thanksgiving, the prices of air fare and tickets for other sources of transportation skyrocket. Out-of-state and international students generally prefer to save money and stay at school, either in dorms or their off-campus residences.

Freshman english major Rehan said, “Buying tickets during Thanksgiving break is pretty expensive and it’s not worth it to spend a lot for [a] short period of time.”

Dash, a freshman civil engineering major, expressed a similar feeling. “We miss our friends and family, but with all the expenses here in Mason, it becomes hard to visit family during Thanksgiving,” said Dash.

Another reason why students might not go home during Thanksgiving break is because of school. Some students prefer to catch up with their studies, as working on assignments or exams during this break could benefit those students who lag behind their courses.

June, a graduate student in the Volgenau School of Engineering, said, “Though I cannot visit my family, I am planning to utilize this break by finishing my homework. Studies are not easy here and this break is a good chance for me to work on my final exams and assignments.”

“I miss my parents during Thanksgiving especially,”  Enlu, another student, stated. “One of my American friend’s family has invited me for Thanksgiving dinner, but [the] rest of the days I will be working on my assignments and paper.”

Hundreds of international students reside in Mason’s dorms, or live near the school. Generally, Thanksgiving is not a part of their culture or norms. Despite the break they prefer to stay back and take advantage of Thanksgiving by enjoying deep discounts in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Radihka, a sophomore computer science major, said, “Although we do not celebrate Thanksgiving and make special arrangements for the occasion, shopping on Black Friday is the most fun part for me on Thanksgiving.”

Understanding that Thanksgiving can be an emotional time for students who are away from their families, “Mason gives a chance for students who live in dorms by arranging Thanksgiving dinner for the students who do not get to visit their families,” according to Elim, a graduate student studying statistical science.

“I have already signed up for that dinner and it would be lot of fun, you no longer feel sad and lonely,” Elim said.

If you’re a student staying on-campus for Thanksgiving, don’t worry. You can still celebrate by signing up for Thanksgiving dinner like Elim did or in your own ways.