Last week, college first-years nationwide returned home for Thanksgiving to reunite with family, spend time with old friends, and, in many cases, dump their high-school sweethearts. This phenomenon is often called the “Turkey Drop” (“dumpsgiving” or “Turkey Dump” work as well) and refers to students using that week back in their old stomping grounds to end long-distance relationships. This is especially the case for first-years, who came into college determined to stay true and loyal to the person they thought was their “one and only.” It’s a big commitment to try to keep a relationship going after two people go off to different schools, but what’s with the sudden end?
First of all, going home for the first time since leaving for college can be super weird. The place that was once more familiar than anything else in the world suddenly feels distant and small. Your universe has become full of new people, ideas, and desires, and with this often comes the need for change, which may mean ending a relationship that ties you to home.
For many people, the timing also just makes sense. A few weeks before the holiday season is one of the year’s peak break-up times because breaking up with someone during one of the most festive and magical times of the year just feels wrong. And if the Drop doesn’t happen over Thanksgiving, the dumper will realistically have to wait until The Spring Clean to break it off with peace of mind.
It seems that, besides being out of convenience, the Turkey Drop happens when it does because November is just around the time when freshman are beginning to feel somewhat settled. They’ve spent around three months watching many of their friends have the drunken hook-ups and dance floor make-outs that are just so college. Suddenly, those late-night FaceTimes and phone calls often leave many unsatisfied and feeling like their days of supposed experimentation are passing them by.
This can be both a legitimate and a dangerous way of thinking. On the one hand, there is truth to the idea that being in a committed, long-distance relationship does require a good number of sacrifices. You might feel a constant worry that maybe you’re doing college wrong or you can’t flirt with whomever you want just because you feel like it. You have to schedule and make a conscious effort to keep the flame burning.
At the same time, if a couple knows that they will likely be giving up certain experiences to stay together and they want to do it anyway, that means something. If two people really thought it through together and decided it would be worse to be apart than to work to stay together, giving that up just for hypothetical wild times might not be all it’s cracked up to be, either. There’s always the possibility that something might be better, but to really enjoy one thing you pretty much have no way around missing out on another. Plenty of couples break-up for college only to realize that they still want to be together. So for any of you reading this that got through Turkey Drop season unscathed, don’t let all this talk put you in a panic. The ability to make it through one of the rougher times for relationships can be a testament to its strength, and couples often come out even closer, so the idea that all high-school relationships in college are doomed is far from the truth.
Dumpers: Have fun and explore, but don’t play with the feelings of your ex. Don’t lead them on or keep them hanging, You did what you did for a reason, so be free! Live life, make mistakes, and make those fantasies a reality!
For those who were dumpees over this Thanksgiving break: It may feel like you’ll never recover from this, but soon you’ll realize how many awesome people live on the same campus as you that you’ve yet to meet. Take some time and let the tears flow, but then embrace this entirely new life full of endless possibilities. That one lame, wooden door closed so beautiful glass French doors that are way hotter can swing wide open.