Holidays warm up with friends at HSU

By Robin March
Flapjack Chronicle

While many students were visiting home as well as many out shopping for Black Friday deals, the Friday after Thanksgiving at HSU was just as delicious as the day before. Many students are unable to make trips home during the holidays due to cost as well as work and other responsibilities, so HSU students joined together to share the special meal with their friends and family who remained at school.

Nick Mazgelis, 20, a fisheries major, along with other friends from around school and the apartment complex he lives in gathered in and outside his apartment he shares Friday afternoon. Being from South Connecticut  Mazgelis has a hard time making the cross-country trip home during the holidays-this Christmas will be the first time he’s been home in over a year.

“This Christmas will be the first time I’ve been home and seen my family in over a year,” Mazgelis said as he arranged a few more bowls of food on the tables outside the patio of the studio apartment he shares with his friend. “It’s too expensive to make it across country for every holiday,” he continued, “but I have friends here who are staying for Thanksgiving also so we tend to have the dinner together.”

However, just because students stay near campus during the holidays doesn’t mean they’ve decided to not take part in them. Living up to the label of ‘community’, students have come together during their holidays away from home to celebrate with their families away from home.

Celebrating the holidays this year with friends has made being away from home during the holidays all the warmer. While the school offers a Thanksgiving dinner for students staying on campus as well as restaurants in the area having special deals, being able to share in the holiday with friends from school only brings the HSU family closer together.

Since Mazgelis knew he would be unable to share the Thanksgiving meal with his family he and some neighbors decided to cook and share together. He and his neighbor Ryan Quinn met early on Friday to begin cooking the meal that others had already indulged in. Quinn had been able to be home the day before and brought back leftovers as well as fresh food, and since Mazgelis was unable to be home his mom sent him money so he and his friends could buy a turkey.

“My mom sent me $20 in Safeway gift cards, and Nick’s mom sent the turkey,” Quinn, 22, a yoga student in Arcata said as he bent over to open the oven in the small kitchen to check on the carnivorous and vegan turkeys being cooked. A savory blend of herbs and spices filled the air but he re-closed the oven, shaking his head, insisting on more time.

Some students feel as though they don’t have many options when on campus for the holidays, but that is not the case. With the growing number of students coming together to share with each other during the holidays, students realize they have more options than being stuck on campus alone or having to make the pricey trip home to be with loved ones. Some students make the choice to be at school with friends for smaller holidays in order to save for the bigger breaks, especially since they now have their own family around campus.

Mazgelis and Quinn began moving the beer from the fridge to the patio and table outside the apartment as Mazgelis’ roommate and another friend continued to work on the food. Mazgelis and his roommate often have their friends over for dinner, so Thanksgiving dinner is nothing new and neither is the preparation or cooking. Mazgelis’ roommate Eric Cerecedes, 25, a wildlife major, said he looks forward to having people over and cooking for company. Indulging in crab and fishing seasons, he tends to bring something different in the form of seafood to the table.

The aroma of roasted garlic fills the air, and a crowded studio apartment fills with smoke as the oven is opened, show-casing the roasted green beans and garlic that had so strongly filled the air along with the awaited turkey. The sliding glass door leading to the patio and outside of the apartment is opened, however seconds later the fire alarm rings out of irritation of the smoke. The alarm is silenced, and dinner continues as planned.

As the rest of the food is pulled from the oven and arranged on the table outside, the group of friends gather together and raise beers to friendship, breaks from school, and the nourishment from the food.

Matthew Mannino, 22, a music major who happened to be in Arcata visiting, was humbled to celebrate with kind friends.

“It’s nice to know you don’t need to go home (for the holidays) to be home,” Mannino said as he watched the others enjoy a game of horseshoes near their meal. Although distant from blood family, the connection made among HSU students sharing in the seasons brings the campus family closer together.

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