First (Year) Impressions: The turkey drop and fledgling fall flings

College relationships are weird. In a way, Macalester is like an educational commune—we all learn, eat, talk and occasionally sleep together. With such close proximity, it’s inevitable that relationships form.

But some first years come to campus already in a relationship. Maya Shenoy ’20, has been with her boyfriend since the beginning of her sophomore year of high school, and intends to keep it that way. Her boyfriend is at Washington State University, and the 1,600 miles has presented new challenges in their relationship.
“Maintaining a relationship in college is hard,” said Shenoy, “because there’s so much else going on, and even in high school it took [a] conscious effort to sit down and talk about what we both needed, but now we can’t even sit down in the same room.”

Shenoy continued saying, “It’s important to be as present as you can be when you’re thousands of miles away, and it sucks sometimes, but you have to know that the person you’re with is worth it.”

Many first years come to college in relationships and make it work, as Shenoy has been able to do, but it doesn’t work for everyone. This is where the notorious “turkey drop” comes into play—otherwise known as returning home for Thanksgiving break, seeing your significant other, and deciding to end your relationship. Drop goes the turkey.

While some first years are deciding whether to “drop the turkey,” others are focused on adapting to the possibility of new connections.

“College is the time to figure it out,” added Paul Barsz ’20. “Dating is like the litmus test for marriage, so you’ve gotta take your time, test the waters and figure out what you like and don’t like.”

And there’s that statistic, that looming statistic from an unknown source, that everyone seems to know and talk about: 30 percent of Macalester students marry another Mac student. That one-third chance makes relationships here seem a little more intimidating, even if it’s only brought up as a joke. But are there really any legitimate relationships between first years yet? Or is it all just Kagin-fueled hookups?
“The Kagins definitely fuel a fire,” said Barsz. “But not the fire of relationships.”

Although sometimes Kagins, or even social media, can catalyze a relationship. Two of my friends ended up turning their friendship into something much less platonic after a Kagin, and then started dating.
“I know two people at Mac who recently started dating,” said Barsz. “I think they actually met on Tinder. So if you want to meet people, sometimes you gotta use your social skills.”

When it comes to maintaining relationships though, Shenoy and Barsz both agreed that social media can be dangerous. “There is so much room for miscommunication over social media,” said Shenoy.

Two of Barsz’s friends were in a relationship, one at school in Arizona and the other in D.C., but they recently broke up because of what he called a “suspicious Snapchat.” When all you have is an internet connection between your relationship, it becomes much easier to shut someone out, giving them the virtual silent treatment. And for Barsz’s friends, this led to an early turkey drop.

“I hadn’t heard of the turkey drop,” said Barsz, “but I have heard that there are many fish in the sea.” And it’s true—although some students might “drop turkeys” this Thanksgiving, there’s always more options that will present themselves.