For many students, going home for Thanksgiving and Christmas break is a God-given right.
But for many students, staying in Abilene for break is an immediate reality. Some students don’t have enough money to return home, others live too far away and others are tied down by prior commitments in Abilene.
Chris Cornell, a senior religious studies major from Pasadena, California, has never returned home for Thanksgiving break. Additionally, he has stayed in Abilene two out of three summers and will stay this Christmas break to marry his fiancÃ©.
“We’re going to cook Thanksgiving dinner, which none of us have ever done before,” Cornell said, before Thanksgiving break. “We’re going to do it with another couple and another friend, all of them international students.”
Because many of the international students are unable to return home for holidays, Cornell empathizes with them.
“Holidays can be pretty depressing for them because they cannot go home,” he said. “So we’re going to have dinner with them, and they are also good friends of ours.”
Cornell was very excited to cook a Thanksgiving meal with his fiancÃ© and friends for the first time.
“Everything should be fine, except for the turkey, I have no idea how that will turn out,” he said. “But if it doesn’t turn out, we can just order pizza. And I am completely okay with that.”
One of the international students Cornell invited over was his friend, Denzil Lim, a senior convergence journalism major from Malaysia.
Lim said staying in Abilene during school holidays is like going into an old closet. Most things are old and boring, but every once in a while, you stumble upon an undiscovered gem.
“Having the right people around you is the most crucial part in a good Thanksgiving day,” Lim said. “Not everyone gets to go back home; it takes me two days to get back to my country. But knowing I’ll spend a day with some of my friends, stumbling our way through Walmart and burning a pot or two trying to serve up Thanksgiving dinner is assuring.”
Although most students flee Abilene as soon as possible, it’s important to remember that not every student at ACU has that privilege.