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The 5 Stages of Winter Break

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Jan. 05, 2015

Winter Break is everything a college kid could desire – endless sleep, no assignments due, old friends, and home-cooked meals. You can pretend that first semester finals didn’t really happen and cuddle up with your beloved puppy (or disgruntled younger brother).

And then comes the golden realization that you have almost a MONTH to relax!




Winter break is a fun time, but you may find (like I did) that boredom and a longing for your college friends do kick in. Let’s run through the five stages that you might encounter during break, and decide how to make this break an awesome one!


Stage One: Enthusiastic Acceptance

You’re at home for a month. Christmas is days away. Your high school BFF texts you asking to visit that restaurant you both love. Your family prepared enough holiday food to feed the Lithuanian military. Life. Is. So. Good.

The feeling of joy you might have at this moment is one that you want FOREVER. So enjoy it! Get some extra sleep, spend lots of time with friends, and don’t forget to help around the house. But try to really enjoy each moment. Recover from finals, and don’t start stressing about next semester. Use this break to refuel your mind as much as your belly.


Stage Two: Cabin Fever

I’d say this feeling arrives after Christmas. You’ve spent a ton of time getting back in the hometown groove. If you’re like me, you’ve become semi-nocturnal – staying up late with friends or the internet until 3am nightly, then sleeping past noon. You enjoy your free time but aren’t used to having nothing to turn in. You might now start feeling restless, wanting to leave the house just to DO SOMETHING different.

The best protection from Cabin Fever is to do what your mind tells you – get out and try something! Even if you don’t usually take walks or go to the gym, now’s the time to change pace. My friends have used Winter Break for a variety of things from volunteer projects to service trips abroad!


Stage Three: Separation Anxiety

Your high school friends are great, but it’s not the same as having dozens of fun people in one dorm.  You miss your college friends!


For friends within hangout distance, give them a text and make plans to hang out this week. 

But really, it’s easy for tentative plans to fall through during break. So don’t hesitate to make formal board game night plans, or plan Skype date with your floormate from Canada. Your close friends will want to stay in touch as much as you!


Stage Four: Enthusiastic Migration

The break is winding down and you’re packing for the return trip. By now you’ve gotten enough sleep to cover the next semester’s deficit, and college friends are arranging a meet-up on campus. You’ve come to realize that your college is almost as much a home as the place you grew up!

Make the best of the break’s end by showing gratitude. Have you been keeping up with chores around the house? Did you thank Mom and Dad for their care? Did you give your local friends a proper goodbye? It’s the little things that will help make the break’s end so much more complete.


Stage Five: Is it Spring Break Yet?

We wish. This break went by quickly, and Spring Break is a century from now. It may feel a bit overwhelming to return to college and all its deadlines, but I get by with one important reminder: I’m surrounded by the folks I missed during break, and we’re going to survive this semester with plenty of good times together.


Just when you thought this video had become irrelevant…  [source]