December: that one month out of each academic year during which college students have absolutely nothing to do. Finals are finished; another semester is under our belts. We spend almost the entire semester longing for this period of time when we will have no responsibilities, no deadlines, no papers, and no exams. But, when it is finally here, most of us find ourselves sitting bored at home dreaming of the day when we can finally go back to school. Maybe it is true that the grass is always greener on the other side, but we may as well enjoy it where we are while we’re there. In case this seems hard to do at times, here are some ideas of things you should be doing over winter break.
1. Sleep late.
This is probably a given, but winter break is the perfect time to catch up on all of the sleep you lose during the semester. Sure, your parents might crack a joke or two when you wake up at 1:00 p.m., but you deserve it after all the sleep you missed out on due to those late nights in the library (or wherever you were).
2. Enjoy home-cooked meals with your family.
Yes, you probably want to catch up with your friends from home, and how better to do this than over dinner? But, before you book yourself for every night, think about how often you go out to eat at school. I bet it’s so often that you forgot what it’s even like to eat a home cooked meal. Remember in high school when your whole family would eat dinner together after you finished your homework every night? The joy that comes from enjoying a delicious warm meal is easily forgotten, but when you re-experience it, you will never want to go out to eat again. Before you know it you will be back to Lean Cuisines and Hot Pockets, so wait an extra hour to meet up with your friends for coffee or dessert, and take the time to enjoy a delicious meal while you can.
3. Hang out with your siblings.
Something that I always forget is that, while I’m away at college growing into an adult, my sisters are growing up too. Maybe your younger siblings were 12 when you first left for school, but now they’re probably well into their teenage years. As for the older siblings, they always have wisdom to share and fun stories to tell. You’re most likely used to having friends around all the time due to the roommate-based lifestyle of college living, and you may be surprised by how good of a substitute your siblings are for this!
4. Hit the gym.
The most common excuse for skipping out on the gym at school is the workload; I know this one all too well. Now that there’s nothing to do, why not take advantage of the down time and stay active? Lots of gyms have special programs for college students to take advantage of during breaks, and this is also a great opportunity to work off all the built-up stress from the past four months. Who knows, maybe you’ll get into a routine that you can take back to school with you next semester!
5. Go shopping for the essentials.
You can only make things like shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies last for so long. Spend some quality time with your parents and hit up Target or Wal-Mart to fill in all the products that you’ve run out of during the semester. Who has time to refill the bathroom soap during the semester? Your parents will be glad to help you out, and you will be all set when you get back to school.
6. Meet up with a friend from school.
Winter break is the perfect opportunity to see another side of your friends from school. Have a car? Why not take a few hours and drive to someone’s house on the other side of Pennsylvania? You’re probably not doing anything better with your time, and you know you miss your school friends. In high school, you always went to your friends’ houses and met their families and in college, it’s rare that this happens. Winter break is the perfect time to see what it’s like to live the life of someone with whom you have become extremely close over the past few years. If your friends aren’t exactly a short car ride away, meet somewhere in the middle and explore somewhere where you never even thought you’d visit!
7. Go to the movies.
This is another thing that no one has time for during the semester. With award season around the corner, catch the matinee showings (they’re much cheaper) of all the most popular films so you can be in the loop come Oscar night! This is also another great way to bond with the fam’ or something to do with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while and with whom you’re afraid you might not have much to talk about.
8. Listen to the radio.
I’m a huge fan of music, and when I’m at school I never get a chance to listen to the radio. Whether it’s due to the fact that I’m rarely in my car or that I don’t really know the radio stations in my college town, I always miss hearing new songs on the radio. In today’s world, the radio might seem kind of outdated, but it’s hard to discover new songs without it. Whenever I leave, I feel like I miss out on the newest songs! When you’re back at home, you know all the radio stations, probably drive your car more often, and most likely have access to a radio somewhere in your home. You never know what you might discover!
9. Take time to breathe.
This one, inspired by the wonderful @JayPobz, is probably the best piece of advice you can have. How often to we just relax during school? Never. Although it sounds lame, take a few minutes every day to just exist, do absolutely nothing, and breathe.
10. Pamper yourself and get ready for the new year.
2012 is closer than we could have ever imagined. Girls, get a manicure/pedicure, guys, get a haircut (and you can get a manicure too!); everyone should treat themselves to a little luxury over winter break. Don’t you miss your favorite hair stylist or that person who has been giving you your coffee at the local shop since you were 16? Get primped, have a latte or grab a beer, and recharge yourself for the semester to come.