Freshman ’ 15: The Turkey Dump

Opinion by Bianca Chavez
Nov. 28, 2011, 12:27 a.m.

Freshman ’ 15: The Turkey DumpI had huge plans for my Thanksgiving break. After three weeks full of group projects and research papers, the break was supposed to be a period of almost-uninterrupted rest. I had an entire list of activities planned, ranging from MTV marathons to taking bubble baths to gorging myself with apple pie. Ideally, I’d spend the vast majority of my time in fleece Hello Kitty pajama pants.


At least, that’s what I intended to do.


My plans were altered when my best friend of eight years was abruptly cut loose by her boyfriend. He cited a “change of feelings” as the cause of their breakup.


Like so many other college girls, my friend had become a victim of the “Turkey Dump” — defined by Urban Dictionary as an event in which “a student returning from college breaks up with their significant other from high school, traditionally during Thanksgiving break.”


This phenomenon has become so common that there are dozens of websites devoted to the Turkey Dump. There are tips on how to tactfully approach a breakup for the dumpers and online support groups for the dump-ees. There are even e-cards that you can use to break up with your significant other if having the conversation in person is impossible or too awkward to bear. (Although if this is your situation, I say you at least owe your soon-to-be ex a phone call. Dumping someone via email makes you a bigger wimp than the Cowardly Lion — not to mention a total jerk.)


But what makes Thanksgiving such a common time for breakups? Isn’t the holiday supposed to be a time to celebrate the Pilgrim’s ruthless slaughter and conquest of the Native Americans? What aspect of such a merry holiday inspires thousands of college kids to begin flying solo?


Well for one, it’s the first time most freshmen return home after starting college. Many of these kids were the ones who expected that maintaining a long-distance relationship to be easier than the girl who accused Justin Bieber of being her baby-daddy. But after nearly two months in college, some have begun to realize that they don’t really miss their high school sweethearts.


And who can blame them? With all the exciting new adventures college brings — from the insanity of events like Full Moon to the magical awkwardness of dormcest — who wants to be tethered to a boyfriend or girlfriend hundreds or thousands of miles away? Everyone knows one person who seemed to spend the majority of freshman year video chatting with his girlfriend instead of experiencing everything college has to offer, and few people describe that guy as “fun.”


Plus, aren’t adults always telling us that college is supposed to be about self-discovery? How is a girl ever supposed to discover herself when being a “girlfriend” has been such a large portion of her identity for so long?


The purpose of this column is not to say that all long-distance relationships are unhealthy or even that they’re all doomed to fail. But if calling your boyfriend fills your stomach with more dread than your upcoming Chem 31A midterm, maybe it’s time to begin consider a belated Turkey Dump. But for Pete’s sake, please don’t use the e-card. That’s just cruel.


Let’s be clear. Bianca LOVES getting e-cards (just not ones that feature breakup news within). Why not send something nice to her at blchavez “at” stanford “dot” edu?

Login or create an account