Survival 101 : Thanksgiving Away

Financial Advice


3 min. read

By: FCU Team

Admittedly, adjusting to life away from home is difficult and the holidays often serve as bright points of the college experience. In the midst of exams, quizzes and studying, holidays serve as those rare times that you get to see your family, reconnect with old friends and of course, EAT in abundance.  However, the reality is that you may not get the opportunity to make it home for every holiday. Whether it's because the trip home is a little too far, a struggling bank account balance is holding you back or maybe you've decided to devote yourself to some solid study time. While it may not be quite the same, without the homemade pies or sneaking turkey when no one is watching, there are a few ways you can enjoy the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, even from your 10x10 dorm.


Find friends who will be staying in town for the holiday and come together for a budget-friendly potluck! If you're really feeling fancy, skip the non-perishable canned goods and ask mom for a special recipe that you can make for your friends. Lastly, don’t be afraid to shake things up a little! Although having a traditional Thanksgiving meal might be ideal, it isn't always an option and while Thanksgiving is an American holiday, there are other countries around the world that have similar celebrations that often focus on the harvesting season. Countries such as Korea, China, Brazil and India all have major celebrations for the season. So plan a celebration with some new friends and be prepared to discover some tasty treats!

Bring the Traditions With You

Just because you’re not physically with your family doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the family traditions that you’ve grown to love. Your family might be loyalists of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or perhaps you enjoy kicking your feet up for a full day of football  on the couch. Either way, you can continue these traditions while you're away and maybe even share them with your new friends at school. If you start feeling the homesick blues don’t hesitate to FaceTime or Skype the family and enjoy the traditions from afar.

Utilize University and Community Resources

Sometimes the reason students aren't able to enjoy the holiday might be a bit more serious. A recent study found that 36% of students, from 66 universities across the country, struggle with food insecurity. Universities typically have on-campus food banks for students and if that isn't an option, seek out resources within the community. Here at the University of Florida, students have access to the Field & Fork pantry for non-perishable food items and can even grab some fresh veggies, thanks to their on-site garden. 

Be a Good Neighbor

If you have some free time over the fall break and are interested in bringing some cheer to someone else's holiday, think of some ways that you can live out all of your Mr. Rogers dreams and be a good neighbor. Look up a local soup kitchen or sign up with meals on wheels to spend some time with people who may not be able to enjoy family traditions. Even better is that once you've finished serving, you'll get to sit and enjoy a meal with some new friends.  

We all count down to the holidays, when we can visit home and spend some time with the ones we love. When those opportunities don't quite pan out, it may just be a sign that it's time to start a new tradition of your own. It doesn't have to be a sad experience, it definitely doesn't have to be an expensive one, and at the end of the day trying something new could be one more thing to be thankful for.