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Thanksgiving with a different kind of family

As Thanksgiving break approaches, students across campus are looking forward to a trip home. For some, however, this trip isn’t possible, so Thanksgiving with friends or in Orange CIty is the plan.

The reason students can’t be home for this break are many. Sophomore Melanie Enkhorn says that she is staying around campus for Thanksgiving because she lives in California, and she can’t go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even though she can’t go home, Enkhorn finds plenty to do.

“Usually I like to hang out with my roommate Ingrid who is also from California,” Enkhorn said. “We clean our room and go adventure in Sioux City, especially because of Black Friday.”

She also says there are benefits to not going home.

“I don’t feel that bad about not going home because flying is a big hassle,” Enkhorn said. “The time change also really messes me up, so it’s nice to stay here and get a real break.”

Professors of theatre and speech Karen and Jeff Barker realized that some students have to stay on campus without their families, so they decided to open up their home to any Northwestern student to have a meal at their house on Thanksgiving.

“Nobody should be without family on Thanksgiving, and we try to create a family sort of feeling,” Karen Barker said.

Barker says that she really enjoys doing this for the students. Since she has a home and loves to cook, she believes it just makes sense to have students over.

“It really doesn’t create much extra work,” Barker said. “Sometimes I have to set up extra tables, but it’s not a ton and it’s so satisfying to me that I don’t really see it as work.”

The number of Northwestern students who go to the Barkers’ house over the holiday varies greatly depending on the year. She said that they have had 12 students there before, but some years there aren’t any.

“I think that [nobody showing up] means that they are taking care of each other,” Barker said. “It depends entirely on the year and I can never really predict it. But everybody needs a place.”

No matter the situation, there will always be students who can’t or don’t go home for break. However, there are always other options, like tagging along with a friend, spending time with the Barkers, who say they plan to continue opening up their home on Thanksgiving for as long as they are able.

 

One comment on “Thanksgiving with a different kind of family

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