Virtual gatherings, compassion can get students through the holidays
The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur or Rollins College.
Visiting family can be stressful and complicated, especially during a pandemic, partisan divide, and the inevitable basic college critiques from family members when you return home for the holidays.
Each student’s holiday will look different than the next’s. Some students were stuck at Rollins for Thanksgiving due to the traveling procedures, and some were close enough to visit home for the week.
Those who stayed on campus for Thanksgiving will have to deal with the added pressure of family probing. Those who are visiting home will have to tackle topics ranging from their love life to the newly elected president.
The pandemic also adds the risk of transferring a possibly lethal illness to older family members on a holiday meant to be spent with loved ones. The only surefire way to get around this situation is to attend family dinner over Zoom, which then creates more issues about meals and keeping the holiday season festive.
One of the best parts of the holidays, in my opinion, is the endless supply of food. This might be the only time of year when eating more than three courses is not only considered normal, but is encouraged.
When the holidays are transferred online, eating a large meal that the whole family contributes to can be hard to accomplish. A way to get around this is to plan out a meal that the whole family, even those attending the evening virtually, can prepare for themselves. Make a menu and stick to it, so this year’s holiday season feels as normal as possible.
As for the forty minute time limit for family time, isn’t your family worth the $14.99 per month? If you buy Zoom Pro, this will give your loved ones more time to catch up after limited family time.
Even though you can buy unlimited time on Zoom, the usual forty minute limit may be just what every family needs amidst the growing partisan divide. Limited time would mean limited conversation topics, cancelling any political discussion at the dinner table.
If you feel like getting into politics with your family, remind yourself that everyone has different views for different reasons. Don’t get personal, and try to include statistics that are objective, not subjective. If the topic does arise, and you want to steer clear of the controversy, point the discussion towards another topic that your family might find interesting, such as your personal life.
For some, personal life might not be up for discussion. Some questions can be very probing, such as comments regarding dating. No one wants to discuss their partner in detail with their grandpa, so try to have some backup topics ready. The same goes for questions about your major, extracurriculars, and career.
If there is no way to avoid the conversation, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your family just wants what’s best for you.
Overall, students need to remember that this is a difficult time for everyone, and we are all dealing with different issues. But we are in this together. If things go south and you’re spending the holidays virtually, just remember: there is always the mute button.