Students gobble up vacation time before final exams

Heather L. Mueller

WSome stay on campus for holiday

while most students left campus to visit their families over Thanksgiving break, some students live too far away to get home.

Because of expensive airfares and a short break, many international students stayed on campus instead of returning home.

The University’s Residential Housing Association held its second annual Thanksgiving meal Wednesday at Yudof Hall for students who live on campus – particularly those who didn’t go home for break, said Jackie Reichter, associate program director at Yudof Hall and the association’s adviser.

“Most of the students who do stay don’t live within the metro area or it’s not easy for them to get home,” Reichter said.

She said the meal was held so students who stayed on campus could celebrate Thanksgiving.

Trung Le, a civil engineering graduate student from Vietnam, said he spent his break working on a final project for class.

Trung went to the Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday, but had to eat at restaurants the rest of break because University dining halls were closed. They

reopened Sunday.

The Minnesota International Student Association had no events scheduled for the break, said Anil Patel, secretary of programming for the association.

Patel said many international students relaxed in residence halls over the extended weekend. Some celebrated the holiday at a friend’s home, including Andres Munoz, an epidemiology graduate student from Colombia.

Munoz is going home for winter break but stayed here for Thanksgiving because of the travel expense.

“I wish I could go home, though,” Munoz said. “I miss my family.”

A group of international students from Kazakhstan gathered at a University Village apartment on Thanksgiving Day for a traditional Kazakh meal.

“We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but we still wanted to do something as a group,” said University first-year student Temirgali Makatov.

Makatov said it looks like he won’t be going home over winter break either because of expensive airfares.

Susan Stubblefield, associate director of Housing and Residence Life, said many students stay on campus during holiday breaks because of job commitments or to prepare for exams.

Although some staff went home over break, residence halls maintained security measures and information desks stayed open, she said.

Holiday helps stave off finals fear

On Sunday students returned to campus filled up on comfort food. But with finals looming, the four-day vacation has come to an end.

With only three weeks left until the end of the semester, students used the Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with family and relax before kicking into high gear.

Political science and global studies first-year student Grecia Zermeno got back to her residence hall Sunday afternoon from Iowa City, Iowa, with cheesecake her mom made, a stack full of $5 DVDs she bought early Friday morning and homework to finish.

It was the first year Zermeno’s family didn’t eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Instead her family, originally from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, ate Barbacoa, a traditional Northern Mexican slow-cooked meat dish.

Zermeno said now that Thanksgiving break is over, the stress of writing two research papers is beginning to bear down.

“The challenge is going to be keeping (grades) the way they are or raise them,” she said.

Zermeno said the disappointing part about going home is realizing that relationships with old friends have changed.

“You don’t know them anymore, and it’s only been three months,” she said. “They’ve missed certain aspects of your life.”

As excited as she was to go home, Zermeno said she couldn’t help but think, “OK, I’m ready to go back.”

Computer science sophomore Kasey Schindler kicked back and watched the football game in Sanford Hall after returning from La Crosse, Wis., by train Sunday. It was the first time Schindler has gone home this semester.

Schindler took advantage of the warm weather by playing golf with his dad, and, on Friday, he shopped the 30-percent-off Black Friday sales.

“It was real relaxing,” he said. “I just laid around, basically ate food and wasted time.”

Schindler said the last few weeks of the semester will probably “go by as fast as hell,” and that he plans to just “take it easy.”

Although most students went home for the holiday, University student Korinne Campbell traveled to Arizona with the Gopher women’s basketball team.

Although Campbell didn’t get to fly home to Princeton, N.J. to enjoy her mom’s homemade stuffing and German chocolate cake this year, the team ate a turkey dinner and said what they were thankful for.

“Our team is like our family,” she said. “So it’s not really missing out.”

Business and marketing sophomore Nate Matousek drove home to Glencoe, Minn., for Thanksgiving. He said it was good to see family and friends and “nice to sit back and not have to worry about too much.”