NYU Students Reflect on Spending Thanksgiving in New York

It’s the city that never sleeps, not even on Thanksgiving.

Every year, Macy's holds a Thanksgiving Day Parade, a free event popular among students staying in the city over break. (Via slgckgc/Flickr)

Many Americans associate Thanksgiving with family, fun and food. Every year, near the end of November, people from all stages of life try to make it back home to celebrate with their loved ones. That’s not always possible, though. Many students end up staying in the city, but Thanksgiving can still be full of family, fun and food — just in a less traditional way.

Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday that not everybody celebrates, and given the amount of international students at NYU, it’s no surprise that we aren’t all flying back to our respective home countries for the five-day break. 

“I never celebrated Thanksgiving growing up,” CAS junior Anushka Shrivastava said. Shrivastava calls Jaipur, India home. “It doesn’t have a lot of nostalgia or sentimental value for me. I am just happy to be getting a break from classes and work.” 

As opposed to the weeklong break other colleges have — Indiana University and James Madison University, to name a few — NYU only has a five-day break, including a weekend, for Thanksgiving. Tandon junior Elizabeth Wilkinson, a Palo Alto, California native, finds this can prevent students from going home.

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“Since NYU allots such a short amount of time, it feels like such a rush when I’m home,” Wilkinson said. “Obviously seeing my family is wonderful but flying twice in such a short amount of time is not only extremely expensive but tiring as well.” 

Five days may not be enough to fly across the country — or the world — but it is enough time to give students some space to breathe. 

“This semester has been pretty crazy so far so I am looking forward to a few chill days. I am planning to catch up on sleep and rest,” Shrivastava said. 

Time in New York without any academic pressure is something students don’t get to enjoy often. CAS junior Mark Malcolm, from Utah, sees this as an upside to staying in New York over Thanksgiving break. 

“While I’d love to spend Thanksgiving with my parents at home, being here will give me an opportunity to explore the city and do things I normally can’t because of school work,” Malcolm said. 

Wilkinson put it succinctly. 

“You’re always missing something when you leave NYC,” Wilkinson said. 

Staying at school allows students to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends. Shrivastava mentioned how Thanksgiving with her friends holds a special place in her heart — and stomach. 

“All my Thanksgivings with friends have had a special twist to them which have made them different from traditional Thanksgivings and more memorable,” Shrivastava said.

Wilkinson brought up her own Friendsgiving plans.

“My friends and I have planned a super extra Friendsgiving dinner with a turkey and everything,” Wilkinson said. “I’m so excited!”

NYU will also provide a lot of Thanksgiving events for students staying back. All residence halls put together some form of Thanksgiving Dinner (pro tip: the Broome events usually have great food), and Downstein will also be hosting a tasty Thanksgiving feast. Thanksgiving at NYU is bound to be full of the same love, celebration and gluttony as anywhere else.

Email Ria Mittal at [email protected]

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