I don’t know about you, but this awkward girl is totally excited for winter break. I can’t wait until it’s time to take a step back from classes, writing and studying so that I breathe. I’m going to bake, eat delicious food, watch heartwarming movies and mostly just enjoy some relaxation.
Break can come with it’s own set of anxiety and awkward moments. Being around family and friends from home can be great, but it can also be different from your typical routine. Free time is a gift but also can get a little tiresome. Even holiday celebrations at school can be difficult. Should you get your roommates a present? Your new friends? What is appropriate? There are a lot of decisions.
Don’t let the possible awkwardness overwhelm what is supposed to be a rejuvenating time. On the advent of my last holiday break ever, I’ve been thinking about a couple of tips that have helped me make the most of my vacations while I was in school.
1. GIFTING: Gift giving is a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful. Who get’s gifts and who doesn’t? How much money should you spend? It can be a lot of pressure. My first step is to establish a budget. It can be hard to get people the gifts you want on a budget, but the best gifts are well thought out. Find something that is small but reminds you of the person.
DIY gifts are also an option. If you like crafting, there is just enough time before the holidays after we get out of school to make some fun gifts. These gifts will be extra special because they are one of a kind and made with love. Not only that, but it can be really fun to make stuff. I always make a set of my family an assortment of homemade Christmas cookies as their gift. I try to make the things they like and even try some complex recipes or fancy decorating techniques to make them extra special.
2. FAMILY TIME: If you are going home for break and your home isn’t nearby, then getting to see your family is a special treat. Going from living at school to living at home can be a difficult transition. Seeing all of your family over break can be stressful too. Prepare for the round of questions.“What are you doing with your life?” “What are your plans for next year?” “Do you have a job lined up?” “How were your grades?”
It can be a little overwhelming to justify your whole college career to a group of family members who might not fully understand. It’s good to have a general answer for these big questions lined up. If you don’t want to get into the truth, figure out a way you can joke about it. Have a couple of classes or school projects you can talk about so they can see a bit of what you are passionate about. Talk about one thing you are really excited about.
It’s hard for people to question you when they see that you are passionately enjoying what you are doing. If you have a family member who still won’t get off your back or who try to compare you to other members of the family, just remember that they don’t know the whole picture. You have value and you have time, don’t let anyone get you down.
3. FREE TIME: Break is the best time to try to enjoy some much needed time off. By the end of the semester, it can sometimes feel like you’ve been rolled over by steam roller. Now you finally have a bit of time to get caught up on sleep and hang out with friends. Make sure to give yourself time to enjoy all of this time.
By the end of the break, however, it might feel like you don’t have anything to do. If you’re lucky enough to have a job for over break, then good for you. Making some money can be a great use of break. If not, you might still want to get some work done. Are you looking into grad schools or jobs? Christmas break is a good time for that research. If you are still looking into what sort of job you want, you might be able to figure out a chance to do some job shadowing or networking in your field. Redo your resume or update your Linkedin profile. This is the kinda stuff you don’t have time to do when you’re in the middle of a semester.
I know that personally I use break to work on some of my hobbies that I don’t always have time for during the semester, as well. I read for fun and do some crafts for fun. Not everyone has nerdy, old person hobbies like me, but maybe you have something you’d like to do like a winter sport or something.Take the time that you have to really do things you enjoy.