Spring break is a saving grace. It happens just after midterm exams to give you some well-deserved rest and the opportunity to restart. A lot of people travel somewhere with their friends or family. They expose themselves to new places and people that they will never forget.
Yet, there are also those who just want to have a calm vacation at home. I am one of those people. For those who haven't experienced a 'staycation', it may sound boring. In order to help you understand how eventful our spring break will be, I have written a little bit about what each day could hold for you.
As for my fellow stay-cationers, our break is usually not eventful enough to post on social media so it feels like we are alone. This daily schedule may seem familiar to you, because we all are going through it, too.
You are finally free from classes. You know your brain has already started its vacation and you can’t wait to join it! Hopefully, you are heading home and don’t have to wait a minute longer to be free of all the stress that your campus brings you. If you have a pet waiting for you at home, you anticipate the moment you get to see your excited animal welcome you. An entire week of relaxing, recuperating, and having time to yourself awaits you. Or so you think…
You (hopefully) slept in and realize it’s already past noon. The panic sets in for a split second that you missed your first class, but you quickly remember that you are on break and safe at home. The classes can’t hurt you here. It’s like you are your academic responsibilities are constantly playing tag, and they are much faster than you. Luckily, before the game began, you declared home to be the safe zone where you can catch your breath after running a while. But you know for a fact that they are "babysitting" and ready to get you the second you let your guard down.
A much more relaxing day comes as your body and mind start feeling the relaxation of just spending time with your family and friends from home. You finally have the opportunity to do what you want to do. So, you start making plans to get together with everyone that you miss. Whether you haven’t seen them in months or two days, the excitement is the same. But here is the best part of being home - you get to eat your first real home-cooked meal since the last time you were home... whenever that was. You get to catch up with your family; which will make you realize just how long you were away.
The first weekday of break often feels strange. If you have siblings, they may not have the same break as you. By the time you wake up, they will already be in their classes. If your parents work, they won’t be home either. You are going to feel this urge to be responsible and productive, but you have to decide whether you are going to act on it or not. Of course, there are a lot of pros to getting things done, but it’s your break! Especially since break is a noun meaning “a pause in work” – enough said.
By now, you have probably adjusted to being off campus and in a more familiar setting. The familiar smells, sounds, and sights have put you in a state of ease. Another day to spend in paradise. Binge watch Netflix? I think yes. By now, you have also probably been scrolling through social media out of boredom. Be warned - it will feel like all you are seeing is pictures of people on the beach and in swimsuits. But keep in mind that a sofa is ten times more comfortable than sand. AND there are plenty of puppy accounts to follow and break up your feed with some cuteness. :)
It's hump day!! Today, you begin thinking about ways you can be productive without stress. You could read a book that you normally wouldn’t have the time to. Maybe you can begin a healthier lifestyle by exercising and eating better. All of a sudden, you feel happy and optimistic about where your life is headed.
Then it hits you: you only have three more days before you are back at school. Panic sets in and you finally open your backpack. As you cringe at the pages staring at you, you start to plan what all you must get done before you return. Do you need to catch up? Do you need to study for upcoming exams? Can you get ahead in your classes? All of these questions and more pop into your head. Your brain and body just wants to go back to that nice, carefree state of mind.
This is the moment you realize that you let your guard down. Your stress has been waiting for you to leave the safe zone, but you forgot that you can't stay forever. When classes are in session, Friday is the day you look forward to. During break? It's a day of dreading what is to come.
Last full day at home. Your stress hits you hard. It could reveal itself through crying, being overly frustrated, etc. Your fight-or-flight response kicks in. Then the most rational thought that you have had in while comes to light – “what if I just quit college and live here with my family??” Everything would be perfect. If you vocalize your brilliant idea, your parents will say no. “Can I just lock myself in my room and never leave? Please?”
Before you know it, your break is over. You’re back where you started. Anxiety at an all-time high and your sanity diminished. It was peaceful while it lasted, but were you ever truly calm? It’s back to the grind. Maybe the next break will feel longer…