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Winter is coming: How first-years are planning to spend the break

<p>Duke's snowy campus, which will be left without students this year for a record-long break.</p>

Duke's snowy campus, which will be left without students this year for a record-long break.

In past years, first-year Nicole Bolton—who is vegetarian—couldn’t eat much of the food that appeared on her family’s Thanksgiving dinner table. This year, she is excited to start her winter break with one of the few vegetarian foods her family cooks: sweet potato casserole. 

“We don’t make ours with marshmallows. We make it with crushed up cornflakes on top, which is the best way to do it in my opinion,” Bolton explained. 

Bolton is one of many students who is excited to finally have a chance to return home and spend time with family as winter break approaches. Spanning from Nov. 24 to Jan. 20, this year’s winter break is over twice as long as previous years’. Bolton plans to occupy this abundance of time by resuming her job at Harris Teeter. 

“Considering most people don’t wear a mask, I do not like my job that much,” Bolton said. “But I like talking to people that do wear masks.” 

Fellow first-year Ruth Player also plans to work during her winter break. Player is currently applying for a job at an engineering firm in her town. Though she says that she expects to be a “glorified secretary” due to not having much engineering knowledge yet, Player is excited to “learn the ropes” of civil engineering and observe what the engineers do on a daily basis. 

“It’s what I would like to do, and I know someone who works there... so I think it’ll be a good match,” Player said. 

In contrast, first-year Daisja Honorable plans to do anything but work during her winter break. 

Hoping to recover from a concussion in a stress-free environment, Honorable says she can’t wait to rest at home and misses being able to sleep all day. Honorable also expressed her excitement at seeing her two pitbulls again and eating Thanksgiving dinner at her sister’s home. 

Honorable isn’t the only first-year planning to take the break easy, as first-year Graham Curtis also plans to relax and engage in his family’s usual Thanksgiving traditions to start off the break. He says his family always starts Thanksgiving by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the National Dog Show.

“We always go for the American Staffordshire terrier just because our dog is a pitbull and that’s the closest thing you can get,” Curtis said. 

Curtis and his family alternate between having dinner at their home or a family friend’s home. They end the day watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving holiday special. 

For Christmas, Curtis says they do not have any set traditions like they do for Thanksgiving. However, he is excited to be able to spend time with his sister during Christmas and spend the holiday in an Airbnb in Asheville, N.C. 

Although first-year Zahra Hassan also does not have any holiday traditions, she is happy to start her first day of break with home-cooked South Asian food for Thanksgiving. Hassan particularly misses eating vegetables and non-greasy foods. 

“Arby’s chicken tenders, chicken tikka masala and tandoori chicken are my favorites for Thanksgiving, 10 out of 10,” she said. “Better than Tandoor.”

She also cannot wait to see her fluffy gray cat named Bean. Hassan has owned Bean since March and misses her greatly. 

“I love her more than I love anything including my friends,” Hassan said. “She is very kind and genuinely enjoys affection unlike Peaches and Mama Bean who only want what you can provide them which is food and attention when they feel like it.” 

Hassan says she also feels glad to finally get a break from classes, projects, investment club, and “econ bros.” However, she insists that she will miss her economics professors despite desiring a break from the subject. 

“I will miss Jason Brent. I got his name tattooed temporarily onto my calf,” Hassan said. “I simp for all of the bald genius economics professors. [Connel] Fullenkamp, can I sign your big, bald head?” 

Despite missing her economics professors, Hassan believes it is necessary to have a long break to fully relax after a stressful, condensed semester. 

“I could not fully take in Jason Brent’s genius during the semester,” she said. “Therefore, the break is welcomed to truly reflect on all I’ve learned.”

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