November 21, 2016

By Jacob Lundquist

As college students, we never really have “days off.” Sure, there are some days where you might choose not to do your homework, not to go to class, not to touch your book—but you know, deep down, that it will come back to haunt you. For all of us, college is a battle between the hopefulness of Netflix, video games, parties, and socializing and the pressures of academics, grades, reading, and homework.

Balancing these two factions is incredibly important, and especially so during holiday breaks. The upcoming Thanksgiving break may have deluded you into a false sense of security. Your homework doesn’t really matter because you can do it all over the holiday, right?? If that was your plan, then this guide will be incredibly helpful in actually organizing and motivating your balanced holiday.

Eat Real Food for Once

One of the hallmarks of a classic college education is the terrible food. If this isn’t the case for you—good! You’re doing something very, very right! If this is the case for you—I’m sorry, and we’ve all been there. Make sure that, since you now have time to cook real food (by this I mean something other than Ramen), you take full advantage of it. Eat extra portions of everything, save whatever you can, and really try to put on a few extra pounds for the folks back home.

Decide What You Want to Do About Friends and Relationships

This is a fairly complex part of all holiday breaks, and especially becomes difficult when long-term relationships come into play. Should you take someone home with you? Should you make time to socialize with friends? Should you include people in your holiday plans? Unfortunately, I don’t have simple answers for these questions. However, hopefully you are inspired to look deep within yourself for the answers to these questions. Find out whether you and your family will react well to a new person (or persons?) at the table. Discover new ways of interacting with your family and friends over holiday breaks.

No matter what happens here, make sure you keep in contact with those that you care about. It’s important to extend even a simple greeting to your close friends, relationship partners, and family members outside of your immediate vicinity. Letting people know that you’re thinking about them is a small gesture that really goes a long way.

Staying on Top of Your Academics

Plan your holiday far in advance: make time for play, work, food, socializing, and cooking, as all of these are integral parts of an average holiday break. Always set aside time for doing homework, any projects you may have left until the end of the semester, early Final Exam prep, and catching up on your readings. Ask that your family members not bother you at those times—if they’re really looking out for you, they’ll understand and try their best! Most people understand the hectic and chaotic atmosphere that the end of the semester brings for college students.

Other Things to Plan:

Have you packed all the necessary clothes? Are you going somewhere cold or hot, and what clothing do you need accordingly? Is the climate that you’ll be in for the break one that you’re used to?

Have you gotten all of your homework properly organized? Have you checked your syllabi for upcoming work? Are you thinking ahead?

Have you packed non-clothing items that you will definitely need and that your mom will definitely make fun of you if you forget? Where is your toothbrush?
Do you know your family’s holiday plans? Have you asked your mom what’s going to happen over the break? Does she even know?

Keep all of these questions in mind as you mentally, physically, and spiritually/emotionally prepare for your holiday journey. If you end up deciding against the squared-away and put-together version of the holiday, don’t worry!—most of us are with you on that one.
Have a happy holiday!