Traditionally on Thanksgiving, everyone gathers around the table for an intimate turkey dinner with loved ones. For many, loved ones means family. While Thanksgiving can be heavily centered around family time, sometimes family is not be the kinship you were born into. Family can also be the people that actively choose to be a part of your life. 

Whether you’re staying in Rochester or leaving for the break, try to find time for your chosen family: the ones that invited you to join them at their table when you sat alone in the dining hall, the ones that laugh at your lame jokes without making you feel lame, and the ones that dragged you out of your room when they knew you really needed a night out. What makes solid friendships valuable is the sense of reassurance they provide.

After a string of disappointments from those you hold dear, you expect the worst from strangers. When they prove you wrong, you know you’ve made good friends. And that’s something worth celebrating.

Friendsgiving doesn’t have to be an expensive four-course meal in a five-star restaurant. Cooking a meal together and watching cheesy holiday movies can be equally fulfilling. Head out for a relaxing evening walk on campus, or go get holiday decorations. Take out board games, or plan a classic game of truth or dare, throwing twenty questions into the mix. Or simply sit down and catch up with your best friend ahead of your flight back home. 

Thanksgiving is all about traditions: rolling sausages, making cranberry sauce from scratch, baking pies… Friendsgiving is all about creating your own traditions: You make the rules. 

Unlike at the Thanksgiving roundtable, your friends probably won’t make a snide remark about your values, nor will they make you feel bad about yourself by slipping insensitive comments in throughout the night like your wonky great aunt does. You might not share the exact same opinions as your friends, but you’re all comfortable enough with each other to speak your minds. That bonding experience will definitely help you get through finals season — the turkey’s just a bonus. 

It’s completely fine if you’re closer to your friends than you are to your relatives, or if you’d rather spend time with your friends than with anyone else in the world. There’s a line from the Emmy-winning TV series “Fleabag” that goes, “People are all we’ve got.” That line deeply resonates with me, and I guess it might with you, too. People are who we share experiences with. Without them, where would we be?

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