Dear Finals Week, You Killed My Christmas Spirit

Dear Finals Week, You Killed My Christmas Spirit

I'm just not feeling joy to the world at this moment.

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It is that dreadful time of the year currently. Yes, I am talking about dead week, finals week, one of the following two weeks that I just mentioned for college students. For men, as I write this article, it is currently dead week and I am trying to survive all of the final projects that I have to do as well as study for my upcoming exams that I will have to take.

However, these weeks have taken away something that I always look forward to. That is my holiday spirit.

When December hits, it is normally the time when I feel happy because it is almost a required feeling for me to feel happy during this month as Christmas is my favorite holiday. I get to be with my family, I get to reflect on the year that it was, and it normally is just a time I feel happy. But since starting college, it has been difficult lately. With the beginning of the month being chaotic as we are given numerous assignments to finish out the semester, and to add on we have projects and papers as well. So for the past two years, it has been a struggle to feel like I'm ready to have a holly jolly Christmas.

Recently, whenever the holiday season comes around, specifically when November first hits, I would be listening to a number of Christmas music on repeat. Then after Thanksgiving, that is when I would watch holiday movies. But since going to college I have had to cut down on the holiday movies. One night, I got a text from my mom that 'Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer' was on. I wanted to watch it so bad, but I was at an important meeting that I could not miss. It sucked because Rudolph is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies and to not be able to watch when it's on really made me feel down.

I've been trying to make some pushes to not worry much about school and projects and to keep my spirit up. I was involved in a secret Santa with the flicc section in marching band and after that, we watched 'A Year Without Santa Clause" and 'White Christmas.' While it was fun to be around my friends and celebrate a small Christmas and being lucky that I have them as my friends, I was still lost in the usual holiday spirit I had when growing up.

It's really never fun when all that is on your mind is making sure that you get the grade that you want in that one class and perfecting that final project that could be the make it or break it part of if you pass or fail a certain class.

But I know that once finals week is over, I will be heading home, sleeping on my bed until December 20th, and spending the last five days before Christmas trying to be as festive as I can be.

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10 Things You Will Learn During Your First Semester At College

Ramen for dinner... again...

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I am a freshman at Elon University in North Carolina and have just completed my first semester. It was a crazy couple of months, but I would not change them for the world. Below is a list of important lessons I have learned, and I hope that this helps incoming college students prepare for their next four years!

1.  You are never alone

Kate Tulenko

Seriously, never. Whether you are in class, in the dining hall, or hanging out in your room, you are always surrounded by people. Me being a people-person, I love the constant stimulation of people around me, and quite honestly, it was weird being alone in my room when I came home for breaks.

2.  Not spending money is hard

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Whether it's stopping at the local coffee shop or getting groceries, you will put a big hole in your spending account, so save up your summer job money while you still can!

3.  You'll find out who your real friends from home are

Kate Tulenko

Going to college is hard because all of your high school friends are all over the country. The people you called your best friends are now far, and only a few still keep in touch—These are the realest friends you could find.

4.  Your roommate will be your rock

Kate Tulenko

I was lucky enough to have a wonderful roommate this semester. We have been through a lot, and I am glad to have her in my life. Hopefully, you will be this lucky too (I'm not going to lie, some people are not as lucky) but try to make the best of the situation, whatever it ends up being. Your roommate will be there for you when you need them and will be there for every crazy story that happens, so get excited!

5.  There's no "Popular" group

Kate Tulenko

Sure, in high school there is that group of girls that seems to run the school and have everyone wrapped around their fingers. But in college it's different. There is no popular group—everyone just does their own thing and has a great time, and the best part is that no group judges another. Everyone is friends with everyone.

6.  Naps are IMPORTANT!

Kate Tulenko

I have said it once and I will say it again: College tired is a different kind of tired. And I think it's because you are always talking to people and doing things all day, and never really resting or doing nothing by yourself. It's honestly a blessing and a curse.

7.  Free food is a blessing

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PREACH! Whenever there is free food you know I'm there! You will get bored of dining hall food, so when you see a different type of food being offered on campus for free you should tap that.

8.  High School was nothing compared to college

Kate Tulenko

I love my high school friends and had a great time with them, yes, but nothing compares to the freedom and fun you have at college. You will have the best time because you can do whatever you want whenever you want—just remember that you are at college for the education, not the parties!

9.  Working out is a necessity

Kate Tulenko

It's no secret that your entire body changes when you get to college because of the change in diet and different daily schedule than what you are used to. So try to go to the gym or get some type of workout every day or so to stay in good shape. I was a swimmer, so one of my go-to workouts is to swim.

10.  Your new friends will be your new family

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You will form an unbreakable bond with your friends at college because you all are facing this new chapter in your life, and no one really knows what they are doing. You will figure out this path together, which is what brings everyone so close. Me and my new friends felt like a family not even two weeks into the semester, and now that bond is even stronger. I cannot wait to see what the next three years will be like with my new family by my side. So, get excited for college—I promise it's everything people hype it up to be!

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My Sibling Is The Best Thing To Have Happened To Me

I once wanted to find a friend that knew everything about me, then I realized I already had him.

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I am not going to pretend that my brother and I have always gotten along. We used to fight and hurt each other just as much as any other brother-sister relationship. But we were kids then. Since we have grown up, my brother has been a source of support and encouragement that is irreplaceable and honestly, the best thing to happen to me.

They say that your siblings are your closest family relationships. They are the ones who grew up with you, they are the closest in age, and they are the relationships that will last the longest in your family because of that. They know exactly why you are the way you are. They know all of your biggest failures and greatest successes, and chances are they were there every step of the way. They know exactly what buttons to push to get a rise out of you, but they also know exactly what you need to hear when times are tough.

My brother and I only really started being civil in middle school. I remember the first real conversation I had with him was about a girl he liked. I was so happy that he wanted to share that part of his life with me. I was so happy he thought I was mature enough to confide in. My brother is two years older than me, so in my eyes, he was always the cooler one, despite what I said to his face.

I have seen a lot of different types of sibling relationships since I have been in school. And when people go off to college like most of your other relationships, the dynamic of your relationship with your sibling also changes. I have never been so happy that I had someone to pave the way for me than when I found myself alone in a town 700 miles away from home. My brother made a similar transition two years ago. In the experiences where I wasn't there for him, he was for me. The kind of understanding and support you get from someone who has been where you are and knows all of the dynamics of the way you were raised is unmatched and invaluable.

Over the years, we've had our fair share of tomfoolery, but my favorite moments with my brother are those that are much more understated. While choreographing and dancing and mixing together is fun, sitting on a sofa and annoying the shit out of each other just like we did when we were kids means much more to me. There's something about being able to transition so seamlessly from a young adult planning their future to a straight up child that is so very comforting. And really, the only person that you can actually expect to have those kinds of moments with is someone who saw you through all your weird and quirky phases.

I haven't seen my brother in four months. He has been studying abroad and I just started college. He didn't come home for Thanksgiving, so we've really only talked over video chat. While there's a lot that can be shared over phone conversations, it is not the same as sitting in the room you used to share with your sibling and reminiscing on your childhood.

This past year has been a year of big changes both personally and professionally for both my brother and I. There's been some pain, some heartbreak, some loss, and a whole lot of growth. The best thing about having a sibling is no matter how far your journey may take you, no number of miles can break the bond you have. When you have a sibling, you automatically have your number one fan and your toughest critic, but no matter what role they are playing that day you always have someone in your corner. It has been a long year and a tough year, but one thing I am glad to say hasn't changed is that my brother is still an overgrown child who annoys the crap out of me… and he's still my hero.

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