3:30 pm: “Hey guys, I just want to remind you that in exactly 2 months it will be November 23rd, day 1 of my lit Thanksgiving break. If you’re no longer planning on coming to Friendsgiving2k16, tell me now, because I will need the whole 2 months to mourn the loss of you as my friend before my true friends get here.”
“Friendsgiving: College Edition” is a huge deal. While it is technically the third Friendsgiving I have had with my lovely squad, “Friendsgiving: College Edition” stands apart in that we decided to band together and have Thanksgiving at Haverford, my best friend’s college, rather than go home to Chicago. The best thing about Haverford College is that you can slap a “Haver-” onto the beginning of pretty much every word while you’re there.
We’re the sort of friend group that gets really liberal with something like that. Haver-giving, Haver-friends, Haver-fun … the list goes on.
Some things about my friend group (i.e. squad): We are the most simultaneously ultra petty, ultra loving group of people that I know — seriously, we squeeze each other and shriek with laughter more often than is probably socially acceptable. It’s the sort of easy interaction that I missed when I first came to college, ya know? After being friends with this handful of people for years and experiencing the formative horrors/embarrassments of high school together, this is a group in which I feel supremely comfortable. It seems only natural to have Thanksgiving with them.
Friendsgiving, because all of us stay for the duration of Thanksgiving break, offers a vision of an oft-imagined future — one in which my squad and I live out our 20s in immediate proximity to one another. Nonetheless, putting together a Thanksgiving meal is a little daunting for a group of 5 college kids with no prior turkey-making experience. Because we were terrified that we would burn or otherwise ruin a full turkey, we opted for two half-breasts and leaned heavily on online recipes for guidance.
I was definitely thrown off by the abundance of feathers embedded in the turkey skin, and while I’d like to say we got them all out, really Chloe and I just cut at them with scissors and a small knife until we agreed that we didn’t care enough to keep picking — and who needs to eat the skin, anyway? (Tbh, some of us would have liked to, but those feathers were really in there.)
Then there were the moments when there was nothing to be done. It was in these moments that a familiar anxiety set in: Who am I to them, now that so many miles stand between us? Thoughts like this have plagued me since the beginning my time at Brown. I mean, how could they not? Being away at school is incredibly consuming: I spend countless hours with the friends I’ve made here. I live, eat and study with them. Obviously, the friends I made prior to college go to their own schools and are immersed in campus bubbles of their own. I know that they’re still my friends. It’s just a little nerve-wracking sometimes, to go from seeing and talking to your friends from home every day to only hearing from them every week or two.
Thankfully, it was still easy hanging out with them. It’s difficult for me to shake my fear that college will lead to the dissolution of my squad, but this was my second Haver-giving, and we’re already talking about year three. I’m realizing that growing up does not necessarily have to mean growing away from the people you grew to love when you were younger, which is a relief because I love those Haver-messes.
At some point, as we danced around each other in the kitchen, each with our own tasks to complete, someone made a comment about how we were killing it at “adulting.” I’m not gonna say I have my life together enough to go it on my own because I definitely don’t. But there is something reassuring about knowing that I have what it takes to travel to Philly and back by myself — and that my friendships are not confined to a particular place and time.
As I reflect on Friendsgiving 2K16, I realize I feel cleansed — nay, Haver-cleansed. It has been a trying, often overwhelming, semester. Being with my friends from home helped ground me, reaffirming that I have a network of people outside of Brown who love and care for me. Not only are they fiercely protective and wildly fun, but also genuinely caring and invested in our squad.
It’s a relief to know that our bonds have not weakened — and that we didn’t burn the turkey.