Ways to spend holidays and breaks
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Student Life

Surviving a Break

A dummy's tips on trying to live through a long break.

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Surviving a Break
© Munira Mutmainna

Break —such a nice word to hear, especially when you are a student. Throughout the whole semester you've worked your butt off to make it worthwhile, and at the end, you get that one big holiday for Christmas and New Year, or a few months break for summer. You spend the first week or two just catching up on your sleep. Great. Then what? Well, if you're anything like me –socially awkward and pretty much a loner—you may want to try the following to survive these breaks and make the most of them. These are not one-size-fits-all suggestions, but this may give you some pointers in thinking how you would want to survive your break.

First and foremost, take plenty of rest. Relax. Breathe. As a student who overthinks and overanalyzes all her 'studently' responsibilities and often obsesses over minor academic matters, I know how easy it is to forget to live and breathe throughout the semester. As the pressure builds up, so does your stress, and the last few weeks of any semester are perhaps the craziest for everyone. If this is the case for you too, remember to put all these worries and anxieties and stress in the backseat at the end of the semester. You have survived panic attacks. You have survived exam-related nightmares. You have survived the deadlines. You have turned the very final project in. You have earned this break. The day your final exams are over/ final papers are turned in, go home, locate your loyal bed, and sleep to your heart's content. Of course, remember to get up and eat and do all the things mandatory for your healthy survival. But whatever you do, take time to be alive.

Study. Learn. Yes, I'm aware that this refutes whatever I mentioned earlier. But hey, people are full of contradictions! While some people like to use the break to relax and heal and rejuvenate, others prefer to stay motivated by taking up summer courses that count toward their degree, or other courses for additional knowledge-building. Some people like to relax a little during the break while also doing something productive to feel good and efficient during long breaks. For those people, extra workload might actually be more beneficial. Especially if you're an international student and staying over during the breaks, these can work as great incentives and encourage you more to start your next semester post-break. There are many courses/workshops/language learning opportunities available throughout different breaks. Keep an eye and sign up for the ones that seem interesting to you.

While you're at it, have some other learning experiences too, perhaps? When was the last time you drew or painted something? Played that favorite musical instrument? Read a book? Saw the sunrise? Played The Sims? Went to the park? The list is going to be endless because we (luckily) have something new to try always. One nice way to spend your break is to try something new, and by that, I don't mean going overboard; don't go cliff diving yet if you have acute acrophobia. Start off with little things, experimenting with little changes. I, for instance, have non-existent navigation skills, which is why on some days I tried navigating through a few familiar/unfamiliar routes without using any maps, for as long as I could. I also tried different places to read other than my fixed reading spots. Visit the nearest museum if you haven't already, or try out that coffee shop that you always walk by but never enter. Visit the local library once: you don't have to love reading to be there! Most libraries have different activities and challenges happening over the breaks, and it's really fun to participate because a lot of them require minimal human interaction (a blessing if you don't trust your social skills much) and you can still do things your way. Take time to observe things around you, and maybe you'll end up with a new favorite hobby or passion by the time the break is over!

Whatever you do, just make sure you know what your happyplaces are. This is very crucial, especially if you're an international student and spending the break away from home or family. Find a spot, a time, a moment, a person, an event, a reason –anything that gives you an outlet, that makes you feel a little less stressed out, where you feel like you belong, and keep these separate from your regular life and obligations. Again, these are not solid plans suitable for all, but if you experiment you're likely to find out things that don't work for you if nothing else!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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