I am dreading returning to college after Winter Break. Even six weeks away, a very generous vacation by anyone's standards, feels insufficient to purge the residual fall semester stress from my system.
It seems like everyone else is chafing after spending weeks under their parents' roofs; they're bored or missing their friends or really sick of their families. They're counting down the days until they can go back to their campuses.
But I'm fortunate enough to have a close-knit family I enjoy spending time with. My best friends are at home, not at college. I don't drink or party, so I haven't been deprived those outlets while at home. I get bored as often as the average Internet-equipped young adult, but isn't bored better than breaking down from stress?
The truth is, I have no reason to prefer the college life.
At college, I balance so many classes and extracurriculars and assignments and commitments that remembering I must also find time to shower, do laundry, and eat is an added burden. Socializing would be out of the question even if I had any close friends on campus. Every extracurricular I've joined with the intention of meeting more people and adding more fun to my schedule has done nothing but add more effort to my schedule.
Going back to college does not mean more freedom, it means more restrictions. I will read what I have to read, spend time doing what I have to do, and feel guilty every time I slow down.
Sometimes I worry my everlasting exhaustion at college means I am going to be a subpar, unhappy employee someday. But then again, it would be simply glorious to work from nine to five and then be done. No homework. No pressure to participate in every activity offered to you or else forfeit the best years of your life. Sure, there will be errands and obligations, but I have plenty of those already. And with luck, I will also get to do something I care about all day, instead of taking classes to check off boxes and joining clubs that are more stress than fun.
There are only five more semesters until graduation. That's the number on my countdown, not the days until the end of this particular break.
Maybe someday in the next five semesters, that will change. I hope so.