The reality of being a college student who can’t travel home for the holidays

Many students who look forward to holiday breaks, may not be going home this year. Photo courtesy

Laughter ringing loud in your ears while the aroma of all your favorite comfort foods fills the air is one of the many reasons why the holidays are the best times of the year. For college students who can’t travel home for the holidays, it could seem like the loneliest and most dreadful time of the year.

Miami, a place where the weather during the holidays feels like the middle of July. It’s approximately a 7-hour drive from Tallahassee. 483.1 miles down a long highway seems more like a treacherous journey for students who attend school closer to home.

For 20-year-old Miami native and Tallahassee Community College’s Dental Hygiene student, Laneisha Jones, driving home isn’t an option this year.

“I would not be able to join my family for the holidays,” Jones said. “Not seeing the family members that come from out of town to spend the holidays and just having that family bond with everyone is what I am most upset about.”

Jones says that her family takes pride in gathering for holidays where they can enjoy great food, listen to old tunes and play games that usually gets everyone excited.

The holidays are usually spent with the people we love and cherish the most. It’s a great opportunity to see long distance relatives and enjoy their company.  College students who can’t travel home won’t be able to participate in these warming interactions.

College students are in dire need of a mental break.  The holidays are supposed to be that time for them to decompress and tend to more self-care.

Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually around the same time as most students’ final assignments and exams.  It can be difficult traveling home for the holidays while having to incorporate studying during the break.  Studying takes away from spending valuable time with family, that many don’t get to see often throughout the year.

Jen Heemstra, Emory University Department of Chemistry’s Associate Professor tweeted, “Faculty in the US, if you have not yet, encourage students to take time off this week to rest. With increased working from home and not wanting to travel, we need to be extra intentional about unplugging from work over the Thanksgiving holiday.”

The holidays could be the most stressful time of the year for students who have retail jobs. Sales, deals and tons of obnoxious customers or clients constantly asking the same repetitive questions can become quite overwhelming.

Working during the holidays is nothing new for pre-occupational therapy student and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s transporter, Rondrelle Johnson.

“Having a job causes a lot of obstacles,” Johnson said. “For example, not being able to take off on holidays especially if you are 100% financially responsible for yourself as a college student.”

Another reality is the current pandemic.

Due to Covid-19, students and most likely their parents, are extremely cautious about traveling back and forth from home and encountering different people they haven’t been around. Having the conversation with your child about the possibilities of them not being able to come home because of Covid-19, seems to be disheartening to a student who’s ready for a break.

Some college students may fall faint while others may decide to start their own traditions. Either way, the most important thing college students should do at this time is, relax.