College breaks provide difficulties upon return
December 5, 2014
Welcome back Falcons! I hope you ate well and, if you spent time with family, didn’t suffer too much.
But now you are back in school and can no longer ignore the fact that finals are nearby. Breaks are kind of scary that way. “I have plenty of time,” you tell yourself. “I can worry about this homework later or on Monday.”
Then Monday comes and you realize you are not ready for school after all. This is looking ahead when most of us are trying to survive the weeks of final projects being due, but we have a large break coming up. Lucky us, we get about five weeks of break when other school get maybe three. This can be disconcerting though. We leave, live our lives and fall out of the habit of school. Summer, in a way, is worse because it is about three months long. The difference lies in the fact that we have been doing that one since we first went to school. Plus from mid-July on, back-to-school commercials fill the television sets. While we may not like to go back to school, we can start to get mentally prepared.
J-term is different though. We have the usual Christmas and New Year’s Day break time and then we go on. I don’t know what it was like for the rest of you, but for me it was just weird. Everyone went about their lives and I was just in limbo. So I, probably like most college kids, developed a routine and less than five weeks later that routine is distorted. We go back to school confused, wondering where the time went. How do we avoid this?
Honestly, I think it is impossible to do completely. But there are tricks to make the transition a little bit easier.
One way is simple enough: don’t forget about school. It may seem like a far way away in the beginning, but it is coming and keeping that in mind can help you weather the change back in to student life.
Another easy one is to keep in touch with college friends. While it may seem simpler just to spend time with old high school friends who also have returned from college for a few weeks, don’t forget the friends you made at college. Send them a few texts or Snapchats. If you live close enough, find a day to just hang out or watch movies. By remembering your friends, it will feel less weird to spend time with them when you return after Winter Break.
The next one goes back to the first one in that, the week before school starts up again, look over the stuff you have learned so far in your classes, especially if they were part of your major or minor. I would suggest looking over these materials periodically during break but, let’s be honest, no one is that motivated. A handy way to not forget college things, even simple things like how to write a paper, is to take a J-term class. This is not for everyone since it costs a bit of money and time, but it does work well for keeping your school mind fresh and making sure you graduate on time.
Basically, to keep yourself from being jarred when the end of January comes around, don’t fall into the rut of a break routine. Know that school is ahead but still enjoy the free time. When people ask you what you did over break, have some stories to tell and memories to look back on with a smile and a wince. Breaks are great but don’t let them break you.
Rachel Molitor is a student at UW-River Falls.