Winter breaks in grade school were often characterized by low stress, high boredom, and little to no obligation. In college, breaks are a welcome reprieve from the fast-paced campus environment you've become so accustomed to, but they can also have their own challenges that you never really anticipated. Here are 10 ways that winter break is so, so much different now than when you were younger.
Your Parents Are Actually Excited You're Home
In grade school, your parents most likely spent the last week or so of your break counting down the days until you went back to school. After all, bored kids and stressed parents can tend to be a recipe for disaster when they come in contact for too long. Now, after not seeing you in person for months, your parents can't wait to finally spend entire days with you again.
You Love Being Bored....
Let's face it: there are a lot of words to describe college life, but boring typically isn't one of them. Between class, homework, extracurriculars, and friends, you hardly get time to breathe during the semester. Whereas during grade school you might have hounded your parents with the infamous declarations of boredom all of break, college you welcomes the opportunity to take 12-hour naps and binge Netflix whenever given the chance.
...But You Still Have Obligations
Before college, your obligations over Christmas break were probably limited to helping around the house. Though the college version of you might love nothing more than having four to six weeks of occupying the couch, you'll most likely split a lot of your time between working, job and internship hunting, planning out next semester, and/or acting as chauffeur for your younger siblings.
Hanging Out With Adult Family Members Is Actually Fun
When you were a kid, being home for break meant either being banished to the kids' table on holidays or suffering through hours and hours of conversation between the adults on topics you really didn't care about. Now that you're officially an adult, spending time with other adults in your family can actually be a lot of fun.
You May Not Be Entirely Free From School-Related Work...
Even in between semesters, college can be pretty time-consuming. When you were younger, a two-week break from school meant maybe a project or two and a few other homework assignments that you pushed off until the night before you went back. In college, there's always something you should be doing. If you aren't taking a winter-term class, you're searching for internships, or completing job shadows, or researching study abroad opportunities, or figuring out your future living situation; the workload really is endless.
....But,You Don't Have Anything Lingering From Last Semester
Semester-long courses are great for one reason, and one reason only: when the semester's over, you're done with the class forever. Before college, if you had a teacher you hated or a teacher who liked to assign hours upon hours of homework over break, and you were pretty much stuck dealing with them even after your break. In college, you don't have any work from the previous semester hanging over your head since final grades have already been submitted, and if you hated one of your professors, it's pretty likely you won't have to deal with them again.
You Have To Worry About Money
For most, college tends to be accompanied by a constant feeling of dread as you watch your savings slowly dwindle, and breaks are no exception. Grade school you had it made over break: free rides, free meals, and no job. In college, even if you have a job to offset expenses, you're often stuck paying for things like gas, groceries, tuition, and maybe rent.
You're Bound To Run Into Someone You Don't Like
Being back in your hometown means inevitably running into someone you really can't stand. When you were younger, seeing someone you were on bad terms with could be handled by avoiding eye contact and standing a little closer to whoever you were with at the time. Now that you're older, you're pretty much obligated to plaster on a fake smile and make small talk with the person until enough time has passed that you can go back home and pray you never see them again.
You Have A Lot More Social Opportunities
Before college, your social circle was likely limited to the people at your school plus a few extras. Hanging out with the same people over and over wasn't necessarily boring, but it lost its novelty long ago. Now that college has provided you with a new social circle, you have the opportunity to have these friends come visit you or go to visit them. Even getting together with friends from home is exciting now since it's been so long since you've seen each other.
You Can't Wait To Go Back To School
When you were younger, the night before going back to school was a flurry of doing last-minute homework and dreading the upcoming week. In college, going back to school may mean more stress related to class, extracurriculars, and other obligations, but it also means seeing your friends every day and hitting up your favorite weekend spots again.
It may have been nice to have a break, but going back to school is probably something you've been looking forward to since you stepped foot off campus.