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Student Blog: Beating the Back to School Blues

Student Blog: Beating the Back to School Blues

Returning to school after winter break can be a difficult time. Here's how I've found to make those first few weeks of the spring semester more bearable and even fun!

So far in my college experience, I've found that there are two general types of people when it comes to returning to school after winter break. For some students, spending two weeks back in their parents' house over the holiday is more of a test of patience than a relaxing break, and they eagerly await coming back to campus for a spring semester full of fun, friends, parties, and new educational opportunities. For others, winter break couldn't last long enough, and the trip back to campus feels like a death march as they say goodbye to their family, their familiar childhood home, and their short-lived abundance of free time. Unfortunately, I fall somewhere within the latter camp of people.

I'm a B.A. Theatre Major and Media Production Major at the University of Florida, so I absolutely love what I'm studying in school. However, the first few weeks of the spring semester still make up my least favorite time of year. You have to battle homesickness, force yourself to wake up early again, get used to a new class schedule, and face the fact that you won't get another break for the next 3 months-all while it's freezing cold outside and pitch dark by 5pm. (Yes, I know I shouldn't be complaining about winter weather when I live in Florida, but it can get pretty gloomy down here too you know!) It's a tough time- but thankfully it's only temporary!

Student Blog: Beating the Back to School Blues
See, I told you it gets cold here!

I've found that the best way to get over the "Back To School Blues" is to look for fun, new opportunities to get involved in activities that you enjoy. Audition for a show! Volunteer to work on a crew! If your college has a student organization devoted to theatre, look for ways to get involved there! Last January, I volunteered to stage manage a student-led play on a whim to distract me from this quasi seasonal depression. Not only did it help drag me out of the dumps by introducing new structure, new challenges, and new people into my life, but it turned out to be one of the most valuable learning experiences in my career as a theatre artist! Before I knew it, the bulk of the semester had flown by, and I had come away with great memories, great skills to add to my resume, and great new friends. This January, I auditioned for a Valentines themed jazz cabaret, which was a blast to perform in and introduced me to even more sweet, talented people.

Student Blog: Beating the Back to School Blues
My first time ever stage managing! So glad I decided to try it.
Florida Players' production of The Wolves (Spring 2022)
Student Blog: Beating the Back to School Blues
I've never performed in a cabaret before, and this was such a great opportunity!
Florida Players' Valentines Cabaret That Four Letter Word (Spring 2023)

This brings me to another point: whether they are castmates, crewmates, or classmates, try to make time to hang out with your friends when the early spring semester has got you stressed. Even if it's as simple as going on a walk, studying together, or grabbing food, getting yourself up and out of your dorm and into the company of people who care about you does wonders for the mind. College can be a very lonely time, and for introverts (like myself), it can be easy to lean too far into that loneliness and wall off the world. But we need close human relationships to thrive, and it's amazing how tough times can speed by when you spend them with friends.

As I write this in late February, I already can't believe I've made it through this much of the semester! The first two weeks or so were a struggle, but between school, work, and the two shows I'm involved in, I've been as focused and productive ever, too occupied with the things I'm passionate about to focus on being sad anymore. I've really enjoyed diving into some of my more creative, project-based classes, like Sound Design, Dramaturgy, and Writing For Electronic Media. Meanwhile, I'm having a blast tackling the challenge of learning French diction and channeling my inner cigarette girl as an ensemble member in Bizet's Carmen. I've also made sure to make small plans with friends at least once a week, which always gives me a little something fun to look forward to! Just yesterday, I had dinner with friends and went to go watch our theatre department's production of Yemaya's Belly with them. The weeks are flying by, and I'm proud of myself for pushing through this far.

Overall, coming back to school can be hard sometimes, and for many, it is an easy time to dig oneself into a hole of discouragement. However, seize the semester by its horns, get involved in new things, and spend time with your friends! You'll be pleasantly surprised how fast the time goes by.

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February 20, 2023

The first few weeks of the spring semester probably make up my least favorite time of year. You have to battle homesickness, force yourself to wake up early again, get used to a new class schedule, and face the fact that you won’t get another break for the next 3 months—all while it’s freezing cold outside and pitch dark by 5pm. It’s a tough time— but thankfully it’s only temporary!