Waking up the morning after Thanksgiving, I didn’t feel that great. It could have been my hangover from my mom’s new Food Network cocktail concoction or from all the sugar in my grandma’s favorite apple pie, but the feeling was definitely from more than just food. It was my post-Turkey Day depression.
Coming home for Thanksgiving from college is so exciting. Our college bodies, trained to live off ramen and dining hall food, are graced with delicious, golden turkey legs, mountains of mashed potatoes, amazing gravy, scrumptious pies and stuffing for days.
We get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and little cousins run around the house chasing the poor dog that barks his face off trying to get a piece of turkey. Music plays in all corners of the house, masking the sound of the boys yelling at the football game on the TV.
We park ourselves next to the nearest bowl of Tostitos and salsa while family members ask us every single possible question about college. It’s an amazing day of family, food and happiness.
All of the stress of college life slips away for 24 hours because the only thing that concerns us is whether we will make it out of the food coma alive.
There are many reasons why we get this depression after the Thanksgiving holiday -- here are just a few:
We have to pack and go back to school
Packing to go home is pretty easy to do before break. You grab your bag of laundry and a few pairs of underwear, and hop on the bus with a duffle bag. But, packing to go back to college is a different story.
You have to make sure that after your mom did your laundry (obviously), you don’t leave anything behind. You have to check all the drawers, closets and maybe even your siblings’ room to make sure nothing got mixed up.
Also, since winter is coming, Thanksgiving break is the time to grab your warm jackets, hats and gloves, and switch out your shorts for long pants. If you forget any of the warm clothes you will need, your mom will have to ship it, and you’ll be an icicle in a sweatshirt until then.
We have to prepare for exams and finals
Um, did anyone else realize it is already December? Seriously, when did that even happen?
Semesters fly by, and after Thanksgiving, it's test time. Professors give out their last exams of the semester before finals. We were obviously too preoccupied with the apple pie to study during break, so just the thought of having to cram and pull all-nighters is depressing.
Finals leave us feeling drained, mentally and physically. We would prefer our brains burst into flames than study anything.
We have to buy holiday presents
Since we are older now, we are expected to get presents for our family members during the holidays. Holiday shopping used to be so much fun because it allowed you to swipe your mom’s credit card and sign her name on the fun touch pad.
But, now, when you are scraping for quarters in the bottom of your wallet to pay for a candle for your mom for Christmas, you realize being an adult who has to buy things sucks.
You become depressed when you realize you must spend the little money you have. This means no late-night pizza runs until after you get that holiday money from the grandparents. Ugh.
We have to leave our dogs behind
You are a liar if you say you didn’t go home and have multiple romantic moments with your dog throughout break. Our dogs are what we wish we could bring back with us to school and it’s so depressing having to leave them behind to go back to school.
You had a great Thanksgiving Day, slipping the dogs turkey under the table and letting them lick your feet and face whenever they pleased. But, it’s back to FaceTiming and staring at old pictures of them as puppies when you get lonely.
We are back to our filthy selves
You go back to wearing the same pants every day because you refuse to ever wash them. Eyebrows grow all over the place, beards grow out, long hair gets scraggly and nail polish gets chipped.
Allergies from the apartment complex or dorm kick in; you sleep in dirty sheets, your roommate’s filth haunts your life and the dishes sit in your sink for days.
You go back to drinking every night, only to wake up feeling like death and smelling like Natty Lite. You’re back to the smelly life of a college kid. You wish more than anything your mom could be there to yell at you to get your sh*t together.
That is why, as I recover from the amount of Thanksgiving food I shoveled into my face, I am more thankful and appreciative than ever. I am thankful for having a home to come back to, and I am thankful for my amazing family that loves me unconditionally and does so much to take care of me.
My post-turkey depression sucks, but I won’t let that ruin the little time I have left before it’s back to college. Snuggle your friends, family, dog and even the leftover turkey in the fridge.
Then, get yourself together for the rest of the semester. You can do it.