How to make a triumphant return home at Thanksgiving

It’s only been six weeks, class of 2020, but the first half of your first university semester has already been a “life-changing experience,” to say the least. High School You is long gone and you have outgrown your frivolous childhood occupations, replacing them with the worldly and sophisticated pastimes of a minty-fresh university student. These foolproof tips will let everyone at home knows that this is New You and that you’re here to stay — at least until Monday.

Prepare your best UBC hoodie, mittens and t-shirt for your trip home. Everyone on the plane needs to know that you haven’t done laundry in three weeks and are now relying on your bookstore purchases until you can ask your parents to throw your whites in with theirs over the long weekend. 

Practice your surprised face when all of your family, relatives and old classmates greet you at the airport with a large banner and balloons. You can’t let them know that this has been a recurrent daydream of yours since the second day of classes.

Once home in your childhood bedroom — now filled with seldom-used exercise equipment — theatrically replace all of the pictures of your oldest friends with the new ones who saw you through final exams, first heartbreaks and poor fashion choices. The edgy polaroids of you and that guy you met on your floor and have hung out with once — or twice if you count bumping into each other in line for the bathroom — will suit your new look much better. Out with the old, in with the newly Facebook-friended.

Help your parents cook Thanksgiving dinner with the many skills you have developed as a daily patron of your residence’s dining hall, such as sorting out the meal’s garbage into four separate bins (buy two more if you must), beating the dinner rush by lining up before Great Uncle Jim and asking your Dad repeatedly when Mac n’ Cheese Day is.

Take a walk around the old shopping mall where all of your former classmates who took a gap year are saving money for post-secondary and gaining life experience. As you pass the guy who sat behind you in Math 12 working at SportCheck to fund a fulfilling trip to Thailand, rest assured that your Wednesdays at the Pit are all the life experience you need.

Get together with your old friends and regale them with tales of The Person You Almost Hooked Up With before your roommate got home. Things have been awkward with them ever since, but you’ve already run through your only two Wreck Beach bonfire stories.

If your long weekend extends over a school day, catch a ride with your younger sibling to your old high school. Make sure you sign the visitors book as an alumni and stop your former English teacher to tell her how English 112 has really changed your whole perspective on Shakespeare. It doesn’t matter that she was in the middle of teaching a class — the new 12th graders need to know how smart and literary five weeks of skipping lectures have made you.

Text your friends, scroll Instagram and avoid your parents questions about how you feel about going back during the entire ride to the airport. As they cry and hug you at security, assure them that you will be home at Christmas to show them your latest UBC hoodie as proof of the world-class education that their money is buying.

The seats at your gate are the most cliché and discreet place to have a good cry without anyone noticing your confusion about where “home” is these days. Don’t worry, your tears will easily be passed off as raindrops once you land back in Vancouver. 

Down the last of your airplane coffee (black, the only civilized way to drink it) in a single gulp and compose yourself before you disembark your plane triumphantly — confident in your new independent life in Vancouver while also wondering what the dining hall is serving for dinner.