There’s three kinds of college students during Thanksgiving break. There’s the people who travel home, gorge themselves on food, and return in the  worst possible mentality going into finals.

Group two are the people who see a break coming and decide to get as much out of it as possible.

Lazy College Senior meme: "Thanksgiving break/ Leaves the Friday Before"

And group three doesn’t go anywhere, because plane tickets are expensive, they have a lot of work to do, or they don’t have a lot of close family.

If you find yourself in group three, you’ve got to make a plan to keep your sanity. Because if 7 pm rolls around and you find yourself sitting in bed, eating day-old Domino’s breadsticks, and watching re-runs of House, you might start to feel down. So here’s a few ways to stave off the lonesome Thanksgiving blues.

  • Makeshift family. You might not have your family around, but the odds are pretty good that there’s somebody else on campus. Scrounge up a group of stragglers who’re in the same boat as you and have everyone chip in a dish or two. You might not have those sweet potatoes your grandma makes that you love so much, but you’ll still capture the spirit of the holiday.
  • Hold off for the weekend. Don’t care much for the other people left on campus? Then wait a few days before throwing together your makeshift family meal. Not too many of your friends will object to another awesome meal on the Sunday when they get back. A few of them might be able to smuggle back leftovers of their family’s finest cooking to boot.
  • Volunteer. There’s no better way to gain perspective and appreciate what you have than helping out people in need. (Check with your nearby shelters first. A lot of places get more volunteers than they need this time of year… and not nearly enough at other times. You might want to hold on to this thought until later.)

Photo of a young woman handing a bag of groceries to an older man.

  • Spoil yourself. Money might be too tight to get a plane ticket back home, but you don’t need to spend too much for budget decadence. Get yourself a pint of your favorite ice cream flavor. Go see a movie that none of your friends are interested in. Never change out of pajamas. Have a thanksgiving dinner of scrambled eggs and take-out curry… or whatever crazy mismatched dishes people don’t normally serve together.
  • Something completely different. Sometimes a day can feel like a holiday just by doing something unique. Go on a hike, visit a museum, take the train or bus to a nearby town. If you do something you’ve never done before, the holiday won’t feel like a waste, just a brand new experience.