Picture of white and brown turkey

Action Potential: Thanksgiving and the Home-Town Sweetheart


With November right around the corner, students are beginning to buy their tickets to fly home for the Thanksgiving holiday. When one thinks of Thanksgiving, a few things come to mind — pounds of moist turkey drowning in gravy, binging on coffee for eight hours outside of a Best Buy on Black Friday, and of course, navigating through all the awkward (read: precious) dinner conversation on Thanksgiving Day.

But here at UCSF, I’ve recently become aware of a Thanksgiving tradition exclusive to first-years. Aptly termed, the “turkey drop” is that special time of year when one goes home to dump one’s significant other.

That’s right, it has become apparent to me that rather than do it over the phone, first-year students opt to break it off when they return home for the first time since school started. Now, depending on how you see it, this could either make for a very sad or a very happy Thanksgiving break.

Personally, I’m in a long-distance relationship and definitely don’t plan to “turkey drop,” but I must admit that it sucks pretty bad seeing my girlfriend only once a month. I’m one of the lucky ones, too — many students don’t even get to see their other halves until the holidays come; and for those from other countries, Godspeed, you brave souls.

I am and have been in a committed relationship for several years. I must admit though, without the solid foundation built from years of mutual understanding, I could see a relationship going south after just a few months of being apart.

No, it’s not from the distance, or even from the loneliness. For me, it would purely be physical frustration. After all, this column is called Action Potential, right? OK, fine — I’ll say it — the sex! Granted, I am a male in my mid-twenties, and the only other thing on my mind besides the pharmacology test next week is women.

Perhaps the most excruciating part about the lack of physical intimacy is not having an outlet (this is especially true for guys with a low-speed Internet). But a three-month-long case of the “blue balls” is worth it, though, right? Right?!

I’m just kidding. In the end, it all depends on the value you place on your relationship and what you want for the both of you. I personally abhor clichés, but in this case it really does seem that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ve noticed that my girlfriend and I appreciate our conversations a lot more now and are starting to grow stronger as individuals.

So, whether you choose to “turkey drop” or not is all up to you. These are formative years, and despite how your holiday turns out because of it, you have to do what’s best for you. After all, you could always stuff yourself with turkey to numb the pain (read: OD on L-Tryptophan).