Winter Break Needs To End Now

To The Longest Winter Break Ever

An eight week break is almost torture.

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Well, it's two months later and we're all finally going back to school. If you ask any student who goes to UD, they'll say they never thought this day would come. It has and everyone is looking forward to it.

Whenever I get asked how long my break for school is, the other person usually expects me to say, "Oh I got back January…". The reactions I get when I tell them I have off until February can be priceless.

In the beginning, winter break was fun. There was Christmas and family around, and always things to do. Then, January hits and there's still six weeks to go.

This time break felt like it was extra long. The days passing by slowly, and a countdown until February 10th approached. There wasn't too much to do when the temperatures create a polar vortex.

Work became fun for a while. Then it was just monotonous. It was just something to help make the days go by faster.

There was the same cycle of work, home, and then back to work the next day. My friends from home had long ago gone back to school, there wasn't much else to do at home besides wait.

Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. One week left to go at home! We're almost at the finish line.

Sorry, mom and dad. Being home was fun, but I am very ready to go back to school and start a new semester. I think you would prefer if I went back to school as well.

It's been a long eight weeks. I'm ready to start school next week which will then turn into an even longer 14 week semester. Here's to hoping we all survive it.

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8 Things To Do With Your Free Time

The days of break are upon us, and how we use our time can have a huge impact on where we end up.
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The days of break and incredible amounts of free time are upon us. Here are some popular, less popular, productive, creative, and truly beneficial ways to spend it.

1. Netflix

The most popular option, but is it the most useful? There is a decent amount of research on this area, and it shows that television can help us stimulate our thinking and concept of the world. However, this also greatly depends on what it is you’re watching. T.V. shows and movies can teach us valuable life lessons and inspire us in various areas in life, and lets not forget documentaries; they teach us loads about topics we are interested in. When all else fails however, they can be a great way to bond with family or friends, even if they’re not there. It gives us something to talk about with not just our friends, but anyone who watches the show. Although it may not be the most productive thing to do, a small amount can be very beneficial to our minds and our relationships.

2. Work

Another popular option, this is a great way to make money for recreation, or to pay for school or other expenses. While this may actually be necessary for some people, it should never be only about the money. There are countless jobs out there that we can learn so much from. Any job that involves working with people can help build social skills and people skills. Being able to relate to anyone is a great skill to have in life. It helps with coworker relations, cooperating with family (maybe) and any encounters with people in everyday life. Other jobs involving particularly unique people (elderly, at-risk, or autistic) can help expand our views and introduce us to new ways to accommodate and communicate with these demographics of society. Jobs can teach dedication, cooperation, initiative, and of course as a byproduct, budgeting. They’re not a bad way to spend free time, but we shouldn’t let them overwhelm our lives, especially if we have stopped getting enjoyment or value from them. But don’t forget, you still have friends!

3. Spending Time With Friends

A classic from the days of our youth, it’s never a waste of time to be with and build relationships with those non-related and close to us. Friends are one of the best parts of life, and free time can be perfect for catching up with old ones from years ago or new ones that you haven’t yet had time away from school to hang out with. Whether it’s playing video games, seeing movies, adventuring through the town or through nature, any activity spent with friends can benefit us. We stand to gain mentally, socially, emotionally (with the right friends) and intellectually during certain activities. In fact, you can even do some of your favorite things such as work, volunteer or watch Netflix with friends!

4. Helping Out and Bonding With The Family

We all know, when we get back from school, how happy our family is to see us, but we also know that the list of chores has not stopped building since our departure. They can use all the help they need taking care of younger siblings and just tending to different things, such as cleaning, around the house. We should never merely groan at these requests. In fact, helping out with things before our parents even mention it can actually be greatly fulfilling. That is assuming they don’t say, “Oh hey, after you finish that, do these twelve other things!” Parents, if you’re reading this, please thank your kids before asking for more.

It can also be a great use of your time to try to learn about what’s new in your family members’ lives since your departure. Learning about the updates in your siblings’ lives can help remind them that you care. Asking for some of your parents old stories can help them reminisce and share their lives just one more time with someone they’ve missed for some time. And if you’re really running out of ideas, try taking one of them out to dinner, watching their favorite T.V. show or breaking out the cards!

5. Learning New Skills

This may be my favorite thing in this list. Free time during vacation can be fantastic if you want to work on something you’ve always wanted to learn. Don’t be intimidated by how hard it might seem. If you want to learn violin, improve your culinary skills or start a YouTube channel, the time is now! The internet (YouTube in particular) is a phenomenal place to learn all sorts of new skills. Video tutorials of all levels can ensure that you learn at your own pace and with specific actions shown to you in a way that you can practice them yourself in the comfort of your bedroom. You can take free online classes over the break, join a club in town, get a mentor, or just learn by yourself with a computer and whatever supplies you need. If you want to be a writer or wow your friends with your new break dancing skills when you come back, now’s the time to learn.

6. Volunteering

Another great way to spend time is volunteering. It can help you grow so much over so little time. Helping people in different circumstances and sending supplies, letters, or presents to people in need can have a good impact on your community and yourself. This is a very undervalued use of time that shouldn’t be reserved for the holiday season. If you have a group of people you’ve always wanted to help or get involved with, a vacation can be a great place to start your work for you and those around you.

7. Finding New Ways to Remind People Someone Cares about Them

One of the greatest traditions of the holiday season that should not be reserved for Christmas, is the art of gift giving. With all this free time, we have tons of opportunity to give back to our friends. This could be sending letters, making the most creative gift you’ve ever dreamed of, weeding their garden when they’re going through a hard time, writing a song, doing their favorite activity with them or taking a trip down a place with old memories that you shared with them. Never underestimate the value of creativity in doing things for the people you love.

8. Getting to Know Yourself

With so many things revolving around other people, sometimes we forget to stop and take sometime to examine our own lives. I mean we definitely don’t forget on New Year’s Eve or on Valentines Day with relationships, but in general we forget to gives ourselves some alone time. Now that we finally have all this time, we have the opportunity to examine ourselves, where we’ve been and where we want to go from here. We can start setting goals that we can accomplish over the break and when we come back to school. Perhaps we focused too much or too little on grades. Perhaps we didn’t go out and talk to new people enough or procrastinated too much. Now’s the time to think about it. Think about what makes you happy and how you can contribute to the world around. Arm yourselves so you can come back to school ready to make a difference, having made one back where you came from already.

This concludes the list of things to do with your free time. I hope you’ve found something that you can bring with you for the rest of your vacation. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment below.

Cover Image Credit: https://unsplash.com

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This Is The Love-Hate Story Of Midwesterners And Snow

if you know, you know.

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Snow, the true definition of love and hate.

If you grew up in the midwest, you know the feeling you got as a kid the night before a snowstorm. When you would stay up a little later in hopes that school will be canceled even before you go to bed. You know the feeling of waking up to a 2-hr delay and getting some extra sleep. Though nothing beat waking up to a closed school. You knew that meant more sleep and a day of sledding, and you were so there for it.

The love you wish to feel now. That your job will call and you just might not have to go in. The feeling of staying home and catching up on things there. Almost comforting that you'll get to sleep in a bit, in the middle of the week! Wow, what a feeling of joy that is. What love you have for the snow that you hope will be coming.

The heart-warming feeling you get as you watch the weather forecast and peep out the window to see snow gracefully falling down to save the day.

You go to bed, ready to receive that phone call the following morning, saying you get to stay home.

Then you wake up.

That's when the hate sets in. No phone calls. Not your school listed on the news as closed. You peek outside and see a thin layer of snow, filling you with disappointment. You know now, that you've been let down once again.

That promising day you thought you would have and then BOOM. You have to get ready for the day. Have to get ready to face the snow. You walk out and the bitter cold that would have brought you happiness at some point, slaps you in the face.

You don't know who to blame for this hurt you feel. The weatherman, that you literally don't know how they still have their job? Your school that decided it was worth the risk? Yourself, for thinking it could actually happen?

That moment where it felt like you were the only school that didn't get closed, just like when you were a kid, the disappointment sets in… no betrayal hurts more than that.

You know now that your butt is the one that will have to walk, what feels like 5 miles, to a class that you don't understand how you even got stuck taking it. All because you hoped that wishing for snow would save the day.

The realization sets in that what you once thought was full of joy and activities, is no longer that for an adult.

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