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Readers comments: 11-26-21

Thanksgiving break for CMC low income students

Learning that the default for most college peers is to head home during the holidays can be difficult for many first generation and low-income students.

Students like me, who come from less financially stable backgrounds, can’t automatically afford to book a flight back home. It’s not even an option. In fact, when I arrived at CMC in August, I dolefully told my parents I would see them again in December. Thanksgiving break didn’t even cross my mind. To make matters worse, as Thanksgiving break approaches, many of us are regaled with stories and family traditions that our peers very much look forward to. Last week, a friend of mine was telling me about her Thanksgiving plans when she proceeded to ask, “When are you leaving?” Did I have to leave? I hadn’t planned to go back home and most certainly hadn’t budgeted for it. She had no clue my heart sank when I saw tickets for $700 from the Ontario Airport to the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City.

Many of us who are staying will certainly miss our family, but it’s crucial that we spend time with friends or join in on activities to not feel so lonely. While this can be difficult and overwhelming, affinity groups at CMC, such as 1GEN, !Mi Gente¡, and QuestBridge, have organized a Thanksgiving dinner a few days before the holiday for members to enjoy tasty food from restaurants in the Claremont Village. This goes to show that Thanksgiving is about hospitality, inclusion, and generosity. There is nothing more inclusive than expanding the holiday to include friends.

Additionally, Claremont’s dining hall will have a special Thanksgiving dinner available for pickup on Thanksgiving day and Janie’s Kitchen in Claremont hall will be open for students to cook tasty desserts. I see this as a great opportunity for everyone to learn something together and catch up on someone’s life.

Yet, some students are also considering using this Thanksgiving break to see some local places they don’t have time to visit during the semester or to volunteer at a local food pantry. A trip down to L.A. or San Diego would most definitely serve us well before the projects, assignments, and tests that will be happening shortly after we return. However, doing something that brings joy to others can be equally fulfilling.

Certainly, nothing can compare to a holiday back home, but first generation and low-income students at CMC are actively looking for ways to enjoy themselves during the holiday season. For many of us, this will be the first holiday away from home, and yes, it hurts, but with CMC’s tight knit community and the reminder that another break isn’t far off, I hope we can all have a good — although different  — Thanksgiving break.

Julissa Ponce

Claremont McKenna sophomore