As an out-of-state student, I always worried about what I would do for breaks during the school year. It can be expensive to go back home for just a few days, but I was worried I would be left all alone at college if I didn’t. Thankfully I’ve found that no matter what you choose to do in college (and this really goes for anything to be honest), you’re never the only one. 

The past 4 years for Thanksgiving, I have done a different thing every single time and had a great time each year. My freshman year, I wanted to see my family and update them all about my college experience, so I flew back home to Colorado for the break. It was a great excuse to catch up with friends back home about their new lives in college and experience good home-cooked food after almost a whole semester of the dining hall (like all things, dining hall food – no matter how good it is – gets old after a while).

For my second year, I decided to venture just one hour away to Orange County to spend Thanksgiving with my grandma, uncle, and cousins. The trip was a lot less far so I got to study to prepare for finals and enjoy fun activities like gingerbread cookie baking. While I didn’t get to see my family back in Denver, it was a new Thanksgiving experience for me and set me up to becoming more independent.

Shortly after my sophomore year Thanksgiving, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the college experience for us all. As a result, the following year, my family and I decided that it would be best for me to stay in California for Thanksgiving to help limit the spread of the pandemic. While at first I was bummed, I found out that a lot of people at USC either don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or just stay around campus for the break. To capitalize on this opportunity, a few of my friends at USC and I planned a camping-climbing trip for the break. I got to dive deeper into my passion for the outdoors while celebrating the holiday in a safe way.

This last year, I got to spend Thanksgiving with a mix of friends and family. I spent part of the break with my extended and close family celebrating the classic traditions of Thanksgiving, and then came back a bit earlier to USC so I could enjoy a couple days of outdoor climbing with friends. This happy-medium really made this years break special for me.

Whatever you choose to do for your breaks from college, just know that you won’t be alone. College is a diverse environment where you can always find someone else that can identify with your path. I’m so grateful to go to a school like USC where I can feel supported in whatever path I decide to pursue. Whether its a college break, career path, or hobby, I am always able to find similar supporters here.

Emily Powis

Emily Powis

MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Denver, Colorado PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @emilyspowis Within Viterbi I conduct research in 3D ultrasound development. Outside of engineering, I am co-captain of the SC Climbing Team, guide outdoor trips with SC Outfitters, work as an Emergency Medical Technician, and help provide mentorship for K-12 students as a counselor in Troy Camp.

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