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感恩节假期:美国大学新生准备甩旧爱

来源:英语点津 更新日期:2013-12-04 点击:


Lots of college freshmen are about to dump their high-school sweethearts


感恩节假期:美国大学新生准备甩旧爱

Thanksgiving break is here, which means it's time for the “Turkey Drop”.

Many college freshmen are home this week for the first time since August. They’ll retreat to what is comfortable – spending time with family, old friends, and for some, a high-school sweetheart. Thanksgiving will also be a time for big questions, particularly for those freshmen still in high-school relationships. Did they take advantage of their first three months in college, or did they lose out by spending too much time on Skype? During their first trip home, freshmen have to decide whether they stick it out with their first love, or succumb to what is known as the “Turkey Drop”— the phenomenon of high-school couples breaking up when they come home for their first Thanksgiving.

Much of my own freshman year in college was determined by one recurring scene. A friend knocks on my door. She tells me her plans for the night – maybe a sorority party or a pregame in a friend’s room – and asks me if I want to come along. I look at her, all dolled up in heels and a cute crop top, and then I look back at my bed, soft and warm, offering a Saturday night of TV, calls with high-school friends, and microwavable macaroni and cheese. Do I push myself to meet new people (and risk spending the next four hours smiling and saying “hey, where are you from?” so many times that my face starts to hurt), or do I fall back on the familiar?

One Princeton junior told me that, during her first three months in college, she stayed in her room every Friday and Saturday night. She didn’t go out because her high-school boyfriend didn’t want her to. The first time she drank alcohol, he “fell apart.” When she signed up to join a sorority, he started a screaming match. She knew she was missing out on important college experiences, but there was still something that made her stay with him for the first few months.

“First semester of freshman year, you don’t have that many real friends, so when my high-school boyfriend would show up, I would be like, ‘Yes, here is someone I trust, that I can actually tell things to,’” another junior said. “He was someone who would just instantly understand what was happening with me emotionally. I would want to just hole up in my room for the rest of the weekend, talking to him.”

So when does this affinity for the familiar start to change? In the first few months of college, there are those long, lonely freshman nights – times when you wonder whether you’ve actually made any real friends. By November, however, most freshmen have gotten over the worst of their homesickness. The “Turkey Drop” happens in part because freshmen realize they no longer need the safety blanket of their high school significant other.

According to Dr. Christopher Thurber, a psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy, going home for Thanksgiving – being surrounded by people they love – can actually help freshmen to get over their homesickness. “When you’re homesick, your actions – being tearful, staying in your room a lot – will cue in the people around you, and prompt an appropriate social response,” said Thurber. “People will reach out to you, and that often will boost the student’s confidence. This in turn will help them overcome feelings of homesickness.”

When I came home for Thanksgiving my freshman year, I was also shocked by how much I’d changed. I went to a high school where the majority of students had been living in the same town since kindergarten. Most people had similar views on political issues and didn’t have experience with cultures different from our own. Then I moved into my freshman dorm, and met a roommate who had just flown in from South Korea. At Thanksgiving, it felt strange to reunite with my group of high school girlfriends, who all grew up within a 20-mile radius.

"A freshman will think, ‘When I was with this girl in high school, I thought we were going to be together forever. Then I got to college and saw that there was so much going on – different people and places and things.’ The committed match that you had in your mind might not look the same when you go home for Thanksgiving,” said Thurber.

Almost everyone I interviewed said there was no way to casually be in a long-distance relationship in college. If you were weren't together everyday on campus, then you had to make sacrifices, and you didn't make sacrifices if things weren't serious. One junior told me that, freshman year, her high-school boyfriend revealed his plans to propose the day after graduation. She broke up with him a few weeks later.

"The nice thing about the college atmosphere in terms of relationships is that you can ease in to them – you don’t have to know where you stand, you don’t have to be really certain,” said a current college junior. “But with long distance, there’s the implication that you’re in it for the long haul. Having a long-distance relationship in college doesn’t just mean long distance. It means long distance, long term.”

By late November, you realize that the long-distance, marriage-proposal kind of commitment is fundamentally opposed to the ideals we’re taught to associate with college. A lot of women told me they felt guilty about having a high-school boyfriend because it just wasn’t what you were “supposed” to do as a freshman. When I asked them exactly what they were supposed to be doing instead, no one had a concrete answer. A few vaguely mentioned drinking more heavily, or being free to consent to a dance floor make-out, but there was clearly something else.

From movies like Animal House, Van Wilder, and 21 and Over, we get this idea that college is the only time in our lives when we can do stupid, drunken things and not get in too much trouble. The bridge of Asher Roth’s legendary rap anthem, “I Love College,” offers freshmen just one piece of advice: “Do something crazy!” In college, you’re supposed to make mistakes because those mistakes become cool stories – the kind that build character and street cred. But it’s hard to feel free to make bad decisions when you’ve got someone from home sending you a constant stream of text messages on Saturday night.

There’s more to this cultural idea of college than wild parties. Leaving home, we’re told that the next four years will be a time to experiment and figure out what we want to contribute to the world. Most juniors and seniors I know chose to major in a department different from the one they listed on their college application. That’s because we’ve all taken risks, learning about topics we didn’t expect to love. The whole process is trial and error: Try a lot of different things, and see what works. The biggest pressure for freshmen to “turkey drop” comes from knowing that we may never again be this free to explore.

感恩节假期来临,这也意味着“放弃火鸡”的时候到了。

本周很多大学新生都会回到家中,这也是自八月以来的首次。他们将重返舒适的生活——与家人、老朋友、对一些人来说,还有高中时的男女朋友呆在一起。感恩节也是解决一些大问题的日子,尤其是那些还保持着高中时期情侣关系的大学新生们。他们是否充分利用了大学的前三个月呢?或者他们是否因为花费太多时间在网络电话上而过于松懈了呢?在他们第一个归家假期里,大一新生们必须要作出决定——是要继续他的初恋,还是向著名的“放弃火鸡”理论屈服。(“放弃火鸡”理论是指高中情侣们纷纷在第一个感恩节放假回家时提出分手的现象。)

我大一那年总是反复出现这样一个场景。一个朋友敲响了我的房门。她告诉我她今晚的计划——可能要去一个朋友的房间参加一个女生联谊会或者一个赛前准备活动——问我要不要加入。我看着她,穿着高跟鞋,装扮可爱,然后目光又定格在自己的床上,温暖舒适,似乎过一个周六电视夜,叫上高中时的朋友,再准备一些微波通心粉和奶酪才是我想要的。我是应该让自己去认识一些新的人(并且冒着花费接下来的四个小时不停地微笑、寒暄“嗨,你家是哪的?”直到面部僵硬为止的风险),还是继续过我熟悉的那种生活?

一个普林斯顿的大三生告诉我,在大学的前三个月里,她每个周五周六都呆在自己的房间。她不出去是因为她高中的男朋友不希望她出去。她第一次喝酒,他“崩溃”了。她报名参加一个女生联谊会,他开始大呼小叫。她知道她错过了很多重要的大学经历,但是在这几个月里总有些什么让她觉得不能和他分手。

“大一的上学期,没有什么真心朋友,所以当我高中的男朋友出现时,我就会觉得‘对,他就是我信任的人,我可以倾诉的人’”,另一个大三生说道。“他就是会立刻懂得我在想什么的人。我愿意整个周末都把自己关在房间里,跟他聊天。”

那么这种亲密的关系是从什么时候开始改变的呢?在大学里的前几个月,总会有一些漫长又孤寂的新生夜——那些夜晚你会不住地想自己是否有真正的朋友。然而到了十一月,大多数新生都从想家最折磨的阶段恢复了出来。“火鸡”现象的发生部分是因为新生们意识到他们已经不再需要高中那个至关重要的另一半带来的安全感。

Christopher Thurber博士,一个菲利普斯埃克塞特学院的心理学家表示,回家过感恩节——周围都是自己爱的人——会让新生们的恋家情绪不治而愈。“在你想家的时候,你的行为——眼泪汪汪,经常闷在自己的房间——会给你周围的人发出一个信号,带来一个适当的社会反应,”Thurber说道。“人们会去接近你,这也会提高学生的自信。反过来,这也会帮助他们克服恋家情绪。”

在我大一那年回家过感恩节的时候,我完全被自己的改变震惊了。我就读的高中大多数学生都从幼儿园起就住在一个镇上。大多数人对于政治问题都保持着相似的见解,也没经历过和我们小镇不同的文化氛围。之后我搬进了新生寝室,室友刚刚从韩国来。感恩节的时候,再和我高中的朋友们重聚显得些许怪异,她们都在二十英里以外的地方长大了。

“新生可能会觉得‘高中时我们俩在一起的时候,我以为我们一辈子都会在一起。之后我上了大学,发现未来的路还很长——不同的人,不同的地方和不同的事。’你脑海中曾经坚定的想法可能在你回家过感恩节的时候又不一样了,”Thurber说道。

几乎所有受访者都表示在大学里维持长距离的关系可能性不大。如果你们不能在大学里每天在一起,就必须得做出一些牺牲,而如果不够认真你就不会做出牺牲。一个大三生称,大一时,她高中时的男朋友透露说毕业的第二天就会向她求婚,而几周后,她就提出分手了。

“对于关系,大学氛围最好的一件事就是你可以轻松地享受这段关系——你不需要知道你在哪,也不需要十分确定,”一个现在就读大学三年级的人说道。“但是长距离的关系就意味着你要长期维持。大学里的异地恋不仅仅意味着距离远,也是在说双方的感情要维持很久。”

到十一月下旬,你就会意识到长距离,以婚姻为目标的承诺和我们与大学联系在一起的想法是完全相悖的。很多女性都告诉我有一个高中男朋友让她们感到很内疚,因为这并不是一个大学新生应做的事。我反问她们那个时候到底应该做些什么时,没人给我一个具体的答复。有几个人含糊地回答说应该多喝些酒,作为“自由人”去赴舞池约会,但答案当然不止这些。

从《动物爱回家》,《留级之王》,《21玩过界》等电影中,大学是我们生命中唯一一段可以做愚蠢的事却惹不上大麻烦的时光。罗斯(Asher Roth)的传奇饶舌颂歌的桥梁,“我爱大学,”给大学新生们提出了一条意见:“做点儿疯狂的事!”在大学里,你应该犯错,因为这些错误日后都会变成很酷的故事——能塑造性格和名声的那种。但是如果家那边有个人总在周六的晚上给你发一条又一条的信息,你可没办法去自由地做这些事。

而大学的文化层面甚至比聚会狂欢还包含更多。一离开家,我们被告知接下来的四年试验并搞清楚我们想为世界贡献些什么的时间。我认识的大多数大三生和大四生都选择了和他们大学申报表上填写的不同专业,这是因为我们都冒了险,学习一些我们没预料到会喜欢的内容。整个过程就是反复试验:尝试很多不同的东西,看哪个好用。大学新生“火鸡放弃”最大的压力就是明白我们可能再也没法这样自由地去探索了。

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