How APU students are prioritizing gratitude despite detrimental changes to their plans this holiday season.

Most APU students are familiar with the conflicting mix of stress and anticipation that comes during the holiday season. As final assignments are wrapped up, there’s a collective feeling of excitement and anxiety. 

However, along with various other factors of college life, COVID-19 has drastically affected how many in the APU community are kicking off the holiday season. 

We got the opportunity to hear from five APU students about how they are celebrating turkey day in ways they’ve never experienced. Though their stories differ in various ways, one thing unites them all: the ability to find new ways to be grateful this untraditional Thanksgiving season.


Rose Hoos, APU junior

“My family is doing a socially distanced Thanksgiving with pre-made plates and outside seating. In the past, any time Thanksgiving was different, it was because we invited students from school that didn’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving and that was so much fun! Card games became more competitive and we used all our tactics to win and gain an edge. We started incorporating fun foods that would appeal to students that came from a different culture and with that, some of their traditions as well. Thanksgivings have been super fun since then!” 

Silver linings: 

“Of course we can’t do things with other students this year, but I think my family might still incorporate some of the things we have done in the past into our Thanksgiving because those changes just made our times that much more fun.” 


Lauren Vaz, APU senior

“My Thanksgiving looks drastically different this year. Normally, I have several Thanksgivings because I have so much family that all live in Colorado. I used to go visit my mom’s side of the family early in the day to eat, then we go over to my aunt’s house at night for a big family gathering on my dad’s side to eat together. This year we’re having Thanksgiving with just the 5 of us in my house (my parents, older sister, and younger brother) and it’s so weird cause I’ve never done Thanksgiving at my house in my whole life.”

Silver linings: 

“I think the positive thing that can come out of this is that it’s definitely more intimate with just my immediate family! Since we don’t usually sit all together and eat every night, it will be a new experience that could maybe be even better!”


Caleb Harbin, APU senior

“So I can’t go home to my family in Fresno for Thanksgiving this year. My younger sister is immunocompromised and I work in a high traffic job at Target, so it just isn’t a great idea (also Target is scheduling me all around Thanksgiving anyway).” 

Silver linings:

“My family decided to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and my mom’s birthday all together in late December. My family is going to get a hotel in Carlsbad and I’ll go meet them and we’ll socially distantly celebrate everything! I’m super excited!”


Hannah Cordy, APU senior

“My sister is pregnant, so with COVID-19 we can’t go anywhere for Thanksgiving. Also, when the vaccine comes out the doctors are recommending we all get it so the baby isn’t super at risk.”

Silver linings: 

“Well, my sister’s first born is 2 and is potty training so she won’t regress at all by having to wear diapers for travel. Our grandparents and hopefully a few of my friends who don’t normally have places to go will be able to join! Also, my dad owns a Chick-fil-a and we may end up doing it there so all the kids can play in the play equipment and some of his employees can join!”


Sophia Gardner, APU junior

“Each year we go to a different house in Texas on my mom’s side of the family, but we aren’t able to this year because several people in the family… have had surgeries or health complications not related to COVID-19, and we have two newborns in the family. With all this being said, the majority of the family is getting older and cannot travel as much, and with COVID-19 on top of previous health issues no one is in a safe enough position to travel, let alone having over 30 people in one confined house.”

Silver linings: 

“No one is pushing it and making any family members feel guilty for not getting together. It’s assuring that everyone is staying safe and healthy! It is also giving my immediate family a chance to have a more intimate gathering and a chance to spend more time together since we don’t normally get to


Anonymous source, APU junior

“Thanksgiving plans are very different. Normally, my entire extended family and close family friends all have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents’ house. We are a really close extended family. So it’s going to be tough to not be able to see everyone. We normally have between 25-30 people, but because of their health along with our own, most of us won’t be able to be there. COVID-19 has been weird that way, because on the one hand you want to maintain the relationships you have and see them, but you also need to protect others and yourself.”

Silver linings:

“Overall, this year has taught me a lot about how important people are. The relationships we do establish and the ones that matter extend past distance and time, and I think we often forget how amazing those can be. This year has been so different for everyone, but it’s almost a solace to know everyone else is going through the ringer too. My main hope through all of this is that when it’s finally over, we’ll take advantage of the time we do spend with friends and family, because tomorrow is never promised.”