11 Reasons I Really Just Need Christmas Break

11 Reasons I Really Just Need Christmas Break

Thanksgiving was such a tease.
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Thanksgiving Break is a moment of reprieve: nearly everyone on campus goes home to enjoy the holiday with their families and a few moments away from campus and school. But all good things must come to and end, and Thanksgiving Break came to a quick and abrupt end. December is here and students are counting down the minutes until Christmas break. Sadly, there are a few weeks between Christmas and Thanksgiving that we do have to go to school. In the words of my suite-mate Grace, we are all on the struggle bus through the last few weeks: here are a few reasons the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Break are the struggle.

1. The weather is finally changing.

When SMU students returned from Thanksgiving, the trees along the Boulevard were finally turning colors. The temperature is dropping and the winds are picking up. With the weather changing, cold, wet, and rainy days are becoming more and more common. On days where the cold wind is blowing mist in my face, the only thing I want to do is curl up in sweatpants and fuzzy socks in my dorm room, but alas I still have to hike across campus to make it to my 8 AM classes.

2. Lab Practicals

Those two words strike fear into any science major or anyone who has gotten stuck in a lab science course. Taking a chemistry test or quiz is stressful. Completing a lab that creates toxic gas if you do not set the apparatus up correctly is stressful. Having an hour and a half to complete 8 pages of problems, and a complete lab with calculations? That sounds like the perfect way to wrap up a semester where every Sunday and Monday night has been dedicated to completing prelabs with my partner and roommate.

3. Hell week

When a professor acknowledges that it is in fact, "hell week," you know it has arrived. In the final week of classes, many students find themselves with multiple tests, quizzes, papers, and presentations each worth a sizable chunk of their grade all piling up at once. This is not including the cloud that is finals hovering over the entire campus, waiting to strike.

4. Homesickness

The times I miss my family and being home are the times right after I have seen them and been home. It is so easy to fall out of your everyday campus routine and back into your home, mom cooked dinner and playing on the floor with your pets routine. Knowing that 7 days ago I was cuddled up with a dog and blanket rather than sitting at my desk in the middle of a ten page research paper only makes me miss it more.

5. Running out of clean sweats/leggings

If this is not the definition of the struggle, I do not know what is. No I am not ready to get up and face the world: why else would I be wearing old grey sweatpants with a logo for a college I do not even go to on them? In the middle of hell week, there isn't time for laundry. I'm lucky if I had time to check and see if the shirt and pants I grabbed matched, nevertheless stalk the laundry room for an open washer.

6. Everyone is going to formals

It's the end of the semester: the perfect time for frats/sororities to hold formals. Everyone gets dressed up, has dinner, and goes and dances it out for a while. Well not everyone. Sometimes you are the person who gets to party it out at the formal, and sometimes you are the person who has watched an entire season of Gilmore Girls and ate Easy Mac and some peanut butter with a spoon for dinner today. Friends wearing formal dresses? Me wearing sweatpants.

7. Leaving your bed gets exponentially harder

Every time you think leaving your window open at night is a good idea, you regret it the next morning. You are a burrito of warmth and nothing is going to get you out of this bed. Until you realize it's 7:45, you have a presentation at 8, and your class is a ten minute walk away. Bye bye burrito.

8. The pressure to buy things is high: your wallet? Not so high...

Christmas gifts? Christmas decorations? Christmas themed snacks? Christmas candy? Holiday flavored Starbucks? I want it all. My bank account says slow down or you won't be able to afford gas to drive home for Christmas.

9. If you have to eat another dining hall sandwich, you are going to throw it at someone.

I have eaten the same food every day since August. The sandwich bar seemed like it has some great variety... In August. I have since eaten so many wraps, flatbreads, sandwiches....

10. November/December is prime Netflix release time

The Crown? The new Gilmore Girls special? Fuller House Season 2? They sound great. Would I know? No. And why not? Because....

11. FINALS

This is pretty self explanatory. 30% of my grade? I'm going to cry.


Cover Image Credit: Sarah Donaldson

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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5 Spring Break Plans That AREN'T The Beach

The beach isn't the only worthwhile destination to consider for spring break.

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Sun, surf, and sand: an ideal combination that draws thousands upon thousands of college students to the beach every spring, but that may not be the only worthwhile destination to consider for spring break.

1. Road trip to see the wildflower blooms out west

If you're a flower fanatic like me, the news of the rare wildflower blooms across Texas and California must've sent you into a frenzy, too. Every day, I read another article about the post-drought paradise that has recently sprung up across the southwestern part of the states. To be honest, a road trip wouldn't be my first choice for a vacation, but a road trip to see flowers sounds like a dream. Just know, if you plan on making the drive, I'll stow away in the trunk to tag along.

2. Weekend trip to visit/surprise out-of-state friends

Spring break schedules scatter across the months of March and April for much of the nation's colleges. As it goes, your out-of-state friends' and your break will almost never line up. Even colleges within the same state often have varying break schedules. So, the likelihood of planning a vacation to the beach altogether is slim to none. Why not surprise them for the weekend??? (Or possibly, give them a heads up beforehand). Either way, I know I miss the heck out of my high school friends and would be so overjoyed to find a weekend to hang out. Even if nothing majorly eventful happened, just seeing a movie and grabbing dinner would be worthwhile.

3. Take a day trip to a state park

While I wouldn't typically consider myself to be an outdoorsy gal, I've been on a couple of hiking/camping trips that I'd plan again. Although most people probably aren't park experts when it comes to their own state, Google is just a tap away. You may be surprised to find out just how many state parks are in your state. Also, some of them may very well be close enough for a day trip. Round up a small group of friends and head outdoors for some fresh air and nature. Plus, I'm sure there'll be plenty of scenic locations to snap a pic for the 'gram.

4. DIY projects

Has your Pinterest board been filling up since Thanksgiving? Who said you have to leave the house to make the most of break? Personally, I'm fully content with spending my free time working on projects. There a few feelings more rewarding than finishing a long-awaited project. Painting is my hobby of choice, but there are so many other crafty hobbies and creative outlets out there. Why not take some time to create a new piece for your apartment?

5. Pick up shifts at a food kitchen or animal shelter

No, this idea may not be vacation-related, but it's certainly a great way to fill the time. Gather a group of friends and head to the local animal shelter to walk the dogs, or possibly, organize a group shopping trip to pick up groceries for a local food bank. Maybe, even consider signing the group up for a few lunch or dinner shifts at your local soup kitchen. Yes, you may want a break over spring break. However, the day-to-day struggles people face don't provide them the luxury of taking a break. You can have your downtime, but there are plenty of hours beyond your relaxing to put towards a good cause.

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