This time of the year can be so stressful. It’s the end of the semester, which in itself, implies mountains of strenuous assignments coming at us from multiple directions all at once. It’s the Christmas season, which means many of us have plans to make, places to go and people to see. And it’s weird to think that we’ll be away from our UD friends until mid-January.
The point is that there’s a lot for our minds to get caught up in right now, and other than the potential for post-finals rest, returning to our comparatively boring homes for a month can seem less than appealing.
When I returned to UD after our short Thanksgiving break, I spoke with another student about the difference of being home or at school. We spoke specifically about the kind of perspective that tends to be developed at school, placing heavy importance on completing tasks, earning grades to symbolize our work efforts, keeping up with different social patterns and more, and how that entire mindset can be adjusted by a simple visit home.
There’s something about going back home that injects a bit of reality back into your perspective. Whether you love being home or you can’t stand being with your family, the physical and mental removal from our enclosed campus routine helps us see life from a broader context. It changes our focus and helps us determine what’s really important in our lives.
Maybe it’s the elimination of our academic duties that helps us establish the important matters of life. It may simply be the time spent with family that helps reinforce our personal foundation, or remind us what we came from. Or perhaps it’s just a visit to the old friend who hasn’t changed or grown since the last time you met that makes you appreciate the ways you’ve developed as a person while at school.
Whatever it is, when we spend time comfortably at home, it affects us like a reset switch for our brains. We unload our stress, spend time recuperating with the people that know us best and return to school confident in ourselves and refocused on our goals. But the only way this happens is if we choose to make the most of our time at home.
It’s too easy to come home exhausted from finals week and look to Christmas break as a way to engage in all the laziness we’ve earned from a semester of hard work. Being home for an entire month, it’s also easy to take our families for granted halfway through break and begin to get sick of being home. But the more we avoid such reactions to our break, the more we will gain from being home.
Try to seek out your off-campus perspective over break. Engage in as many activities as possible at home, especially the ones you’re unable to do at school. Make yourself available to your family to spend time with them, and try to make the most of simple downtime. Utilize every opportunity to think about who you are and where you want to go, and try to reorient yourself to your most basic goals in life.
Approach break with the right mindset, and not only will you get more out of your time, but you’ll be that much better prepared for the coming semester.