Winter Break: A Much Needed Escape


Classes should be ending for the semester (or quarter), and if you’re like many students who have gone away to college, you’ll likely be heading back home for the break.  Before you head back home and settle in, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Your parents still see you as their baby, no matter how old you are.  Chances are they’ll make this quite apparent.
  2. While at home, you might not be able to get away with all the stuff you did on campus.   You might have chores, curfews, and restrictions, but that really depends on your parents.  It’s hard coming back to that after being left free to do whatever at college.  Try to grin and bear it for a few weeks. You’ll survive, and soon you’ll be back on campus.
  3. Enjoy the time off, and try not to think of classes at all.  When classes start up again in January, you’ll wish had stress-free time off, so make the most of it while you can.
  4. If you’re thinking about bringing home a significant other or friend for the holiday, make sure you check in with your family first to let them know.  Chances are they aren’t staying for 2 weeks, but even if it is just for a meal or a day or two, they’d appreciate some advance warning.
  5. You will undoubtedly face twenty questions upon your return home.  Have you decided on a major? What kind of grades are you getting? Have you got a girlfriend/boyfriend yet?  Be prepared.  It’s inevitable.

If you somehow managed to stay on campus over winter break, you too can make the best of your situation.  I did this one year when I worked for the Psychology & Neuroscience Departments over the break.  It was actually a really awesome experience, and gave me a very different look at the college.

The winter break that I stayed in the dorms over break was pretty cool.  It was really snowy, and at that time I did not have a car.  I got to stay in my regular dorm for a week, but then for the next two weeks I had to temporarily relocate to this other dorm on campus where there would be another student staying over break.  It was awesome.  Two whole people in an entire, massive dorm.  The lounge area had an awesome big screen television, so it was like I had my own little living room.  Anyways….it was just a totally different look at the college and dorms.  Like during the semester everything is busy and noisy, and everyone is buzzing.  Over break it was just so peaceful and serene, and I got a lot of quiet chill out time.  It also gave me a chance get acquainted with the Sopranos DVDs (haha).

So, anyways, if you are staying on campus over the winter break, here’s my few words of advice/things to think about:

  1. While there aren’t that many people on campus, and you can get away with a lot more than normal, be cautious about what you do.  Loud music won’t likely bother many people as they aren’t there, but it will draw the attention to you much faster.  Same for any unusual smells or smoke that might be coming from your room.  If you’re doing anything iffy, try to stay low-key.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings.  You may or may not know the other people who are staying in the dorm, so it’s best to be on the safe side.  There aren’t as many people around, and if something should happen there aren’t as many people around to notice or to help.
  3. Make sure you still keep your door locked and such when you leave.  Even if you’re the only person in the building.  You never know what could happen.
  4. Since you likely won’t have a roomie, overnight guests such as your boyfriend or girlfriend are very much welcome!  Steal the alone time while you can, because come next semester your roommates might be barging in.

For those college students who’ve already got an apartment and are living on their own – good for you.  You can still party it up without worrying about your parents, but you’re likely holding down some kind of a job to pay for this lifestyle, so you’ll need to get all the relaxing time you can get before its time to get back to the grind.  Enjoy your time off from school, and get some of those things done that you just didn’t have time to do during the semester.

And finally, for those of you who are living at home and commuting to college, well, you don’t have a whole lot of changes to experience.  You know how your parents are and what they expect of you.  Might I suggest considering staying on campus at least once in your college career?  I think it is something that everyone should experience, even if it’s just for one semester.

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