Top three reasons why Thanksgiving makes me feel like I’m living in an altered reality


The mental and emotional turmoil I experienced at the hands of this flightless-bird-glorifying holiday was nearly unbearable.

Callie Collins | Cavalier Daily

Thanksgiving is an interesting time of a year, to say the least. Never has the fourth Thursday of a certain month gotten as much attention as that of November, and for what? Unseasoned poultry? A parade organized by a declining department store chain? Covertly racist comments made by your overtly racist relatives at the dinner table? Personally, I don’t really get the hype. But regardless of my feelings of confusion towards the holiday, no matter who you are, Thanksgiving is a pervasive phenomenon — one that completely takes over your life to the point where you can’t even recognize it anymore. So you can better understand what I mean, here are my top three reasons why Thanksgiving makes me feel like I’m living in an altered reality:

1. The history

Growing up, we all learned how Thanksgiving came to be: one day, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans put aside their differences and came together over a grand feast to celebrate what they were grateful for, eventually leading to this annual tradition. I know what you’re thinking: this is totally what happened and definitely not some fabricated, idealized version of events contrived to absolve a bunch of European colonizers from the mass genocide of nearly the entire indigenous population of North America. Unfortunately, you are wrong. But is it really that hard to believe? You know how the saying goes: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … and then committed what most definitely would be considered human rights violations by modern standards.” This is why pretending as though none of these horrific events ever took place and instead the Native Americans and Pilgrims sat around a fire, singing Kumbaya and going in on some turkey makes me feel like I’m experiencing some kind of propaganda-fueled dystopian simulation not unlike 1984. Big Brother is watching you, and he’s got stuffing.

2. The timing

I think everyone can agree that Thanksgiving break is strangely placed within the academic calendar. For starters, it begins in the middle of the week (note: f—k Tech and JMU for their week-long breaks), which leaves class schedules up in the air. Suddenly, you’re not sure if your Tuesday classes are even happening anymore, and even if they are, it’s as if the academic bar has been lowered to limbo level — you receive extra credit for simply showing up to lecture and your professor ends up playing documentaries on the Vietnam War (???) just to kill time. This, while fun, ultimately results in genuine confusion as to whether or not you really go to a Top 25 university.

Thanksgiving’s dangerously close proximity to finals is also a cause for concern. In fact, I’m pretty sure in academic-speak, “Thanksgiving” roughly translates to “hell is imminent”. Sure, you have five days to forget all your responsibilities and get lit off of some spiked cider, but the second you return to Grounds it is GRIND TIME. Last-minute papers are due, group projects are in full swing and you have to face the soul-crushing reality that bringing your calculus grade up 37 points in two weeks may not be the most achievable of feats. Until winter break, your life is an unfamiliar, incoherent daze fueled by Red Bull and self-loathing, with only the distant memory of pumpkin pie and AMC’s The Godfather movie marathons to remind you that the world wasn’t always this cruel.

3. Coming home just keeps getting weirder and weirder

As I’ve gotten further along in my college career, returning home feels progressively more bizarre, and Thanksgiving break is no exception. Everything feels a little different, but also the same. This strange sense of nostalgia is ever-present, and you don’t quite know what do with it. You take an innocent drive around town and before you know it, it’s midnight and you’re lying down in the reclined passenger’s seat of your friend’s car, parked outside a Cookout while listening to The 1975 (unfortunately, a true story). You reminisce about how immature your high school self was compared to who you are now, completely neglecting the fact that last week you ate stale pizza rolls for breakfast at 2 p.m. (and you enjoyed it). Talk about cognitive dissonance, am I right?

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind for me, and now you all know why. The mental and emotional turmoil I experienced at the hands of this flightless-bird-glorifying holiday was nearly unbearable. But on the bright side, it’s finally over, and I can now move on to my next critique: Christmas. I mean, seriously, exploiting the birthday of the most prominent religious figure in history for the purpose of capitalistic gain? Pathetic. And the random fat dude in red who trespasses via chimney and steals cookies? Don’t even get me started on those property crimes.

Alisha Kohli is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at 

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