I’m sure at this point you’re tired of hearing how to make the most of 2020. And with Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might also be struggling to feel grateful. It’s overwhelming to think about all that has happened so far this year. For that very reason, it’s essential to strike a balance of staying plugged in and recharging. 

We know there’s a lot on your mind—for some of you, this may be one of the last family gatherings before you embark on your college journey. For others, your fall break might be an opportunity to exhale from a tireless semester. And for a few of you, this may be the perfect time to get your next steps organized. No matter where you find yourself, it’s a chance to reset your perspective. 

With that being said, Thanksgiving often inspires a plethora of emotions and this year is no exception. You may be celebrating the holidays differently this year; virtually, socially distanced, or maybe far from home.

Wherever you are, here are six ways to both unplug and stay connected this fall holiday break.

Unlock Your Writer’s Block

If you’re looking for writing inspiration, use the downtime with friends and family as just that. You might find yourself catching up, having thought-provoking discussions, or heated debates. In the exchange of ideas, think about how you might clearly communicate your thoughts in a college essay. 

Better yet, you just might end up landing on a good topic to work with. Take a moment to think about all the experiences that have shaped who you are, who you aren’t, and who you want to be. Soak all that in, and then let the words flow. 

Have questions about essay writing for college applications? Check out our tips here:

Can I Make a Recommendation?

If you’re still trying to figure out who should write your recommendation letters, ruminate on this question. Who has made a great impact on your academic journey? Think about who you’re thankful for: people who motivate you, inspire you, believe in you, and root for you!

Those people can often be mentors, teachers, counselors, or even bosses. Take this break as a moment to appreciate the communities, small or large, that have supported you. Consider reaching out to those people so they have enough time to take you up on your offer! 

If you’re still unsure of how to get through this step, don’t sweat it! Check out a few tips here:

Your Average Screen Time is...

Learning via a computer isn’t always enticing. Zoom fatigue is real, so we hope you take time away from the screen. But when you are browsing online, check out our virtual experiences! A spectrum of content will keep you informed and excited about what’s to come.

Our Information Sessions give insight into our history and higher education approach. And while our incredible ambassadors can’t provide in-person tours just yet, you can still explore our three campuses via virtual tours.

Moreover, you can get a taste of what an NYU learning environment is like—check out our Trailblazers series! NYU’s most compelling researchers share ground-breaking research and provocative insights. 

Make sure to unplug—but when you’re online, learn from the world’s boldest thinkers, and then become one!

Out With the Old, In With the New...Traditions

As a New York transplant myself, holidays can actually be a wonderful way to get to know more about a new environment. My Miami hometown rarely sees a temperature change, but the Big Apple always offers beautiful seasonal transitions.

With fall comes amber leaves, sweeping breezes of cool air, and exciting traditions that spark the anticipation of holidays (cue Mariah Carey playlists everywhere). Granted, things might be a little different this year, but it’s really hard to shake a good tradition. 

One of my favorites? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you’re planning to make New York your home for the next four years, it’s an experience worth learning more about—especially the Inflation Celebration

Early riser? Tune in to the show and you’ll see how easy it is to debunk the “All New Yorkers are grumpy” myth.

Home is Where the Art Is

Whether it’s setting goals for the college years to come, forging a game plan on how to tackle this life transition or daydreaming about the future, taking a moment to celebrate all that’s to come can be fun, instead of daunting. 

When I was moving to New York, my mood board included inspiring quotes and empowering aesthetics. It was a metaphorical centerfold for where my life was heading and a great way to distract myself from brooding or anxious thoughts.

So whatever it is that you find joy in—reading, painting, running, baking, etc.make room for it as your college journey unfolds.

Thankful is as Thankful Does

At the risk of sounding corny, the very last, but certainly not least important thing you should do this fall break is just be thankful. For how far you’ve come, and how far you’ll go. 

It truly has been a trying year and there are so many subjective reasons for why that is. It’s okay to be frustrated or uncertain about the future, but it’s also totally okay to feel hopeful, grateful, or inspired too! This holiday break is a reminder to embrace the people and communities that support and remind us that the best is yet to come. 

So find a space to extend gratitude towards yourself and others. No matter where your college journey leads you, education always opens a door to growth, experience and possibility.

And that’s always something to be thankful for. 


Dashka Gabriel, called Dash by most, is one of the Assistant Directors of Special Events and Visitor Relations in the Office of Enrollment Management. An alumna of NYU’s Public Relations M.S. program, she’s passionate about creating experiences that bring people of all backgrounds to the greatest city in the world. When she’s not running around behind the scenes, she enjoys exploring her Brooklyn neighborhood, playing (and winning!) Broadway musical lotteries, and having a solo movie night at the Alamo Drafthouse.