Winter break is college’s Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, etc) present to the student. Students fall into debt to pay tuition, they lose sleep to complete papers, and they sacrifice social lives to stay focused on their classes. Being almost three weeks into December, students are collectively rejoicing in the glorious gap between Fall and Spring Semester. But with students returning home and having a drastically less convoluted work schedule, they may be wondering what to do with all this free time. (Free time? What’s that? I haven’t had that in a long time. Sounds weird.)
It’s important to stay productive over the break so that when it comes to a close, you’re not left wondering where all the time went. Here are a few ideas to make your break worthwhile:
You’ve worked hard all semester. Now it’s time to relax and catch up on rest. And by the end of the semester, after pulling all nighters to finish papers and cram for finals, sleep is probably at the top of your list. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself by sleeping late into the day now that your break is here. For the first week, you might want to hibernate. Your brain is fried and it’s time to let it simmer down, back to normalcy. In addition, college students tend to eat horribly and sacrifice nutrition for convenience. It’s time to eat hearty and healthy. If you’re returning home from being away at college, take this opportunity to load up on home cooked meals. You know, that edible stuff that’s not heated on hot plates or nuked to soggy deliciousness. Ramen noodles have a way of losing their appeal after having them every single day. In no time, you’ll be fully restored.
Now that you’ve been sleeping all day and only waking up to stuff your face with delicious food, let’s talk about your physical health. Most people look a little less in-shape when they return from school then when they left. All those late night McDonald’s runs and keg stands might have taken a toll on you. It’s that freshman-fifteen, or twenty, or thirty, or whatever. The point is, don’t be lazy over the break! You don’t have the excuse of not having enough time to exercise anymore. With the extra free time, utilize it well and strengthen your physical health. Hit the gym, take jogs around your hometown, bench press your little brother, or all of the above. Make it a personal goal to go back to school looking better than you did last semester. You’ll feel good that you did.
Social lives tend to suffer when in school. I’m sure you may have been hitting parties at school and are probably thinking, “my social life isn’t suffering. I’m the King of the Beer Pong Table!” Well, good for you, bud. Have fun riding that accomplishment for a few years. Truth is, your relationships with friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and families are probably suffering from neglect due to lack of time to fully embrace those people. It’s not really your fault. You’re not a bad person. Maybe you went away to school and have been too far away to see your loved ones. Or maybe you just really haven’t had the time to dedicate to every single person you care about. That’s not an excuse anymore. Take this time to regroup with your friends to keep the relationships strong. If you’re dating someone, it’s time to do something romantic. Romance suffers during the school year. Guys, break out the boom box and jean jacket and go hang out on her front lawn. Ladies, do anything remotely sexual. He’ll eat it up. Friends are a little easier to connect with and don’t require as much thought. Go grab a drink with your high school buddies. Reunite in the woods with the old neighborhood gang and run from cops, (even if you’re legally old enough to drink). Just ensure that you tighten up the bonds with those close to you. Strong relationships don’t disappear suddenly and all at once. It takes a good amount of neglect but it’s easier than you might think to lose touch with people. Give yourself every opportunity to not have to look back and wonder why you no longer talk to so-and-so.
Here’s the crappy part of the post, feel free to skip over it if you don’t want to think about this break coming to an end just yet. Still reading? This break will come to an end. And it will probably happen faster than you think. I know that stings a lot. Ensure that when the time comes to straighten up and get back to school, you’re ready to do so. Go into the new semester well equipped to tackle everything that comes with it. You’ve done it before and you can do it again. The great thing about college is that you’re working towards your own goals and dreams. You should want to strive to work towards those goals and be proud of your accomplishments. Another semester may sound dooming but just tell yourself that you can get through it and it will all be worth it in the long run.
Be safe and enjoy the well earned break!