Family argument

Thanksgiving Break Survival Guide: Answering the Tough Questions

Thanksgiving break is the first time you are back home for a long period of time during the school year. It makes no difference whether you are a freshman or an experienced senior, it’s always the same. Seeing your family is great and catching up with friends is even better. You want to spend your time away from school relaxing, sleeping in, eating home cooked food, and hopefully having your mom do your laundry.

The last thing you need is to be stressed out or feel nervous about going home. The biggest downfall about break is the tough questions that everyone asks you. These are questions about your grades, you major, your love life, and your future plans. Sometimes you just don’t have the answers to these questions. Sometimes you know your answers aren’t what they should be or aren’t what your family wants to hear. Sometimes your honest answers could spark a discussion or argument that you just aren’t willing to have right now. Avoiding the questions all together can also spark some family issues (especially if your parents are paying for your education.)

If you know the answer to what your career plan is, have great grades and a steady significant other, that’s great and you are in a much better situation than most. The questions should be easy to answer and you have no real need to worry about how others will react. But if you have no clue what you want to do as a career and you can’t tell the future, it’s not as easy. So, what’s the best plan of action if the questions start to fly at the dinner table and you just can’t avoid them? Be prepared. You need a strategy to delivering the perfect response. You need something that won’t start a heated discussion and something that won’t invite deeper discussion.


Question: How are your grades this semester?

Here’s how to answer: Brag about a test or paper that you did really well on. Remind them that the semester isn’t over yet and you still have assignments and a final to get through. Explain that you are working hard and are doing the best you can right now.

Question: What do you plan do to after graduation?

Here’s how to answer: Bringing some humor into this is a good plan. Joke about how you are enjoying what little time you have left as a college student, and not to worry because you will get it all figured out. You can list off a few options that you might be interested in, but explain that you are keeping your options open.

Question: When will you settle down with a nice boy/girl?

Here’s how to answer: Usually this question will come from a grandparent, and they mean well by it. They just want to see you happy. If you are currently dating someone just mention that things are going well but you need to focus on school and your career first. If you are completely single, use the same excuse and say that you are focusing on school and career right now and the right person will come along soon enough.

Question: How’s your health?

Here’s how to answer: It’s obvious you have packed on a few pounds thanks to all the pizza and fries you’ve been consuming in the cafeteria. Don’t get defensive with your answer. Explain that college takes some getting used to and there is nothing to worry about. You’ve got everything under control.

Question: Have you been saving any money?

Here’s how to answer: This question is always tough. If your parents are still fully funding you they might be hinting that it’s time to get a part time job. They might also be hinting that they are cutting you off as soon as you get that diploma. You can respond by talking about some part time jobs or internships you are interested in and that you plan to land something first thing spring semester.


If you do get bombarded with questions over break, stay calm. Try not to get defensive and stay open to having the discussions that need to be had. Keep a positive attitude and try to keep a smile on your face when having the tough conversations with your family. Keep your answers short, sweet, and simple. If you are actually struggling with grades, or you are unhappy about something, Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to reach out to your parents for help.

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