THE FALL SEMESTER IS FINALLY OVER! I know that I’m not the only one literally screaming this fact to everyone I encounter (or maybe I am. I’m a little too excited, you might say). I’ve mentioned it before, and I will say it again: this semester has been the hardest semester of my undergraduate career. It’s now behind me, though, and I am ecstatic. The feeling that comes with accomplishing a challenging feat is incomparable, and I know that’s how I’m feeling right now. I have climbed my Mount Everest in the form of twelve credit hours that made me cry literally up until the last day. The frustration and anxiety that I experienced this semester is now gone, and I can stand on the top of my mountain and gaze out at the scenery without the thought of homework and projects lurking in the back of my mind.

Cheesy metaphors aside, I know that some people are still in school (sorry if this means I’m rubbing my freedom in your face), and I know that some are like me and are elated to be finished. Whichever boat you are currently sailing in, there are some things that everyone should consider doing with the upcoming break – I know I will be doing all of these things at least once over the next four weeks.

1. Do absolutely nothing productive for at least one day.

This may seem like a silly thing to do, but I have found that in order to recharge after a stressful semester (or stressful anything, really) you have to give yourself permission to be lazy. This might mean binge watching Netflix without feeling guilty, treating yourself to a movie and some popcorn, or sleeping half the day away. Pick your unproductivity poison and allow yourself to do nothing – you deserve it.

2. Read a book.

This is something I always look forward to after a long semester of reading things that I have to read. Christmas break is a fantastic time to read only books that you actually want to read. I almost always end up with a collection of books that I’ve accumulated over the course of the semester but haven’t had time to read. They’re just sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be opened, and I can’t wait.

3. Go on an adventure.

This one is a little broad, but it’s a good one. I find that my best adventures, no matter how big or how small, almost always occur during breaks. It’s a great time to take a few friends and head out – whether it’s for several days or just an afternoon.

4. Try something new.

This may end up going hand in hand with the last one, but it can be its own thing too. This can, again, be big or small. Go to a new restaurant or go sky diving (or something in between). My sister and I always take advantage of our temporary freedom from academia to try out a new cupcake shop. It’s simple (and sweet), but makes for an amusing afternoon wandering around the city to decide which bakery we should try out.

The semester definitely takes a toll on all involved, and Christmas break is a way to erase all the stress and start fresh. Taking some time out of your break for yourself and living completely according to your own prerogative for a few weeks is always a nice change, and doing some of these things will help your break be a good one.