After a long 12 weeks, we are finally here. Thanksgiving break and the last issue of The News-Letter. This year, since Thanksgiving came so late in the semester, it seemed that many of us needed the break more than usual. Personally, I was exhausted from the unsustainable schedule I had established that usually works in other school years.
So what did I do with this valuable break?
Well, break is a prime opportunity to catch up on some work. I toured the libraries of King County, researching papers about rehabilitation and sending emails to professionals and searching up gap-year opportunities.
But every night I slept in the tiny twin bed of my middle and high school days, with the dusty pillow from who knows how long ago. I developed a nice cough and eye infection that I really needed right before the busiest school week of the year.
The time that wasn’t spent studying or getting sick was spent at Asian dinner parties. Every touchy topic and hot-button issue was covered. Parents would discuss a variety of excellent dinner-party subjects over cold food and wine.
How the colleges are too liberal these days. How private police is a great idea. How Chinese people are being marginalized every day. How real estate and stocks are doing.
Everyone who found out I went to Hopkins would ask me about the protests and sit-in at Garland Hall and the professor who tried to cut the chains. Everyone would ask about the robbery that occurred near campus or the professor who was accused of sexual assault.
Really? No questions related to health care? No pre-med banter that I could offer an interesting comment on? No food-related chat or tech gossip?
Black Friday was terrible as usual. The lines are just not worth the time. The holiday is branded as materialist paradise, but in reality, it’s just a miserable day of waiting.
The disappointing time at home was only redeemed by the opportunity to catch up with the few friends that had either returned home for this break or went to the nearby University of Washington.
So which part did I enjoy about break?
Before I left for SeaTac, I hosted a dinner party at my rowhome, a sort of Friendsgiving, if you will. I made way too much food, and the one guy who was staying over break was taking all the leftovers.
Butternut squash. Creamy mashed potatoes. Roasted vegetables. Sesame garlic steamed pork ribs. Homemade turkey stock that eventually turned into gravy. And of course, a whole turkey that had been dry-brined and spatchcocked for maximal juiciness and flavor.
I feel like by junior year, everyone becomes equally busy. Everyone has their own academic goals and clubs that they pursue, and it takes up the time that would normally be for hanging out with friends. I’m a culprit myself; I have signed myself up for all the typical pre-med activities, plus food-related ones and heavy coursework. It leaves very little time for others, and things like the physical distance and social barriers become important in deciding if I will reach out and meet with a friend.
So, when everything stops for a brief moment, it’s an opportunity to be there for my friends, who have done so much for me. Finally, after a semester of eating Chipotle burritos and instant ramen alone, we all came together for a meal. The significance of this occurrence is not to be understated. Hopkins students are notorious for being driven and overworked, and we should enjoy our time with friends to the greatest extent possible.
An evening of laughter and company for all of us to savor as we continue on with our busy and isolated lives.