Thanksgiving break approaches

Students plan to study, work, attend concerts, more


Photo by Lauren Ortego

Sarah Balkey, sophomore SAEM major, marks her calendar for Thanksgiving Break.

Written By Lauren Ortego, Co-Copy Desk Chief

Joe Truesdell’s dad has his own way of celebrating Thanksgiving and it involves a turkey breast, a smoker and up to 12 hours of preparation.

Truesdell is just one student heading into the first break of the semester next week, joining others whose plans range from relaxing with family to attending concerts, working and catching up on homework. 

Thanksgiving break is next week, and comes about two weeks before the last week of classes, and three before finals week, Dec. 12-15.   

On Thanksgiving Day, Truesdell, a senior business management major, said his family does “all the normal stuff.” They go to his aunt’s house, hang out, play board games and just enjoy each other’s company. But there is one small oddity in the day.

“My dad, he likes smoking his own meats,” Truesdell said. “So he’ll like, get his own turkey breast and he’ll smoke it here at the house and then we’ll bring it over. So we usually have two kinds of turkey going on.”

Truesdell also plans on attending Lady Gaga’s Joanne World Tour concert in Pittsburgh Nov. 20.

Another student, Alexa Newborough, a sophomore theatre arts major, works at the King’s in Gibsonia, Pa. and even banks on working the morning of Thanksgiving before going home to see her family.

“So much for time off,” Newborough said. “But, you know, money is fun.”

Newborough is not alone when it comes to working over the holiday break. Sarah Balkey, a sophomore sports, arts and entertainment management major, is also planning on working for most of the week at an assisted living facility near her home in Wexford, Pa.

In addition to working and seeing her family, Balkey additionally plans on traveling across the state to see rapper Hoodie Allen perform in both Philadelphia and New York City, one day after the other.

“I knew I’d be on break, and it was the perfect time,” Balkey said. “It’s the last show of the tour, too, so I knew that would be fun.”

Thanksgiving is often a holiday spent with extended family, but some students, like senior psychology major Maia Gilmour, originally from Brattleboro, Vt., cannot justify traveling all the way home just to come back a few weeks later, as much as they would like to.

“I’ve always sort of rationalized staying at school for Thanksgiving because in just two weeks, I’ll be home for winter break,” Gilmour said. “It’s not very easy to get [home]. There’s no direct trains from Pittsburgh to Vermont.”

Gilmour is going to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, who is also from Vermont, and his extended family in Pittsburgh. The pair are exceptionally close, and Gilmour says their families prove to be very similar, making her feel right at home.

Also spending some quality time with her boyfriend is senior cinema production major Sophie Turiansky.

Turiansky is planning on making the eight-hour journey back home to West Chester, Pa., but not before making a quick side-trip.

“I’m actually going home Monday, because my boyfriend and I are going up to his camp for a weekend,” Turiansky said in an interview in Boulevard Apartments. “So, we’ll spend a day up there, which is nice, and then I’ll go home for the week.”

Turiansky plans on making a few important visits while home, including going to see her dad, spending Thanksgiving Day with her mom and seeing her horse. Turiansky’s family used to own a farm, but when they made a move, they had to give away a few of their animals.

“We gave him to a sort of therapeutic riding school… so I still get to see him and ride him, even though he’s not mine,” Turiansky said. “And I have a little puppy that I so desperately can’t wait to see.”

All five students expressed relief at finally getting a break from the stress of the fall semester, and look forward to seeing and spending time with their families and their pets.

“I feel like when I’m in ‘school-mode’ my heart is in two places — here, and at home,” Newborough said. “So, when I’m at home, I miss it here; when I’m here, I miss home. But it is good to have a change of scene, even for a little bit. Oh god, and my cat — I get to see my cat for days in a row.”