Christmas in T-Town: Things students can do if they don't go home for the holidays

Christmas in T-Town: Things students can do if they don't go home for the holidays
Caroline Japal / Alabama Crimson White

CW / Caroline Japal, Graphic illustration CW / Wil Benton

Driving back home to see your family. Watching holiday marathons on television with hot chocolate. Going out and buying a tree and decorating your entire house. These are the things that make up winter break for many college students in Alabama. However, there is a population of students that do not spend the holiday break like others.

Tuscaloosa is a college town, for the most part. There are many outlying cities and neighborhoods, but they all concentrate on The University of Alabama. When holiday break comes rolling into town, the students start leaving. Not only do the out-of-state students start heading back home, but students from different parts of the state also head back to their hometowns. But what about those students that stay here in Tuscaloosa?

Whether you are from Tuscaloosa and going back to your hometown means staying here, or you are not able to make it home for the holidays, Tuscaloosa is a different place when the students have left. Campus itself looks deserted, and the rest of the town feels somewhat deflated. There is less traffic and a noticeable decrease in the crowds at restaurants downtown or on the Strip.

Nisha Singh, a sophomore majoring in psychology, is a student who is from Tuscaloosa. Being a local, Singh is excited to see her friends that are coming back from other colleges and universities and getting to be with them. While her college friends are away, she spends her time getting to see her high school friends and being with them.

“I go out of town, so I’m not here the whole time,” Singh said. “It is nice getting to see my friends that are away. All my friends from high school come home.”

Aside from students that stay in town, or travel back to other parts of Alabama, there are students that must take cross-country trips to make it home for winter break. There are kids who travel back to Illinois, California or up to Michigan.

“When I go home for the holidays, my roommates and I all have to drive home, but it’s not bad with a few people,” said Gabe Coombs, a sophomore majoring in biology. “I only get to go home a couple times during the semester, and that’s if I go home at all, so going home for Christmas is a welcomed vacation.”

When returning home to Michigan, Coombs is always prepared to have to get used to the much more extreme winter temperatures. There is a stark contrast between Alabama and Michigan when it comes to the intensity of the season, so it makes for quite the adjustment. However, Coombs explained that he can get used to the freezing temperatures like he had before he moved down to Alabama.

“After being down here so long it’s surprisingly cold at home, but you get used to it,” Coombs said. “The initial shock is there, but after a while it just feels normal to me.”

The holiday break is a time for all students to celebrate with their families or celebrate in their own ways. Not everyone celebrates the exact same as the other, but it is interesting to take a look at those who spend their holiday breaks in a different way than the majority.

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