Student Blog: The Return: Life at School After Winter Break

Are you in the middle of re-adjusting to school after a long time away and feeling overwhelmed? Here are some tips to help you through from my experience so far.

By: Jan. 31, 2024
Student Blog: The Return: Life at School After Winter Break
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Hello readers! Tis the season to talk about the return to school after a long Winter Break. I’ve been back at school for almost a week now and have had a little trouble adjusting since I was home for so long. I’m sure a lot of my fellow college students can understand how I feel. Although I’m excited to be back, I’m more stressed out about being back to school than I expected I would be. My Winter Break was relatively long, I was out of school basically from the second weekend of December until the week of January 20th. Therefore, I had a lot of time to relax at home. I did some fun things like go to Disney and participate in Summer Stock auditions but most of my time was spent hanging out with family and friends. Usually, my schedule is very busy so I was temporarily satisfied with not doing much over break. However, after a while I was starting to get anxious about how my mind and body would handle such a busy schedule back at school after what felt like a long period of rest. I started to want to go back to school to see my friends, of course, but also get back into somewhat of a routine. I don’t like to stay stagnant for long so the thought of how I let myself rest “so much” over break actually started to scare me. In hindsight, I definitely was being overdramatic but it’s hard to find a balance between rest and keeping up with your goals by doing things like practicing your dancing, singing, etc. In the days leading up to going back to campus though, my feelings had completely flipped and I was really sad to leave home. Almost the whole break I thought I was ready to go back to school but then my feelings transformed into the total opposite before moving back in. All that being said, I am at school now and beginning to re-adjust. It has been hard the last few days, and may be hard for a little while longer, but I feel it is getting better so far and it will only go up from here (fingers crossed). Without further ado, here are some tips I’ve learned these past few days for getting back on track after a long break from school that could be applicable for Spring and Summer Break as well:

Thinking Ahead (Time-Savers)

In my schedule, I do have some decent breaks in between my classes. My breaks are either an hour or an hour and a half long and only a couple of my classes are back to back this semester. However, I always think I’ll have enough time to get everything that I want to get done during my breaks finished and I almost never have as much time as I thought. I always underestimate how long a task will take me to complete. Half of my classes are dance classes so a lot of the time I prefer to change my clothes or warm-up before class during a break and I typically don’t leave enough time for that. Also, it’s easy to get carried away during breaks doing things like relaxing, maybe taking a nap, hanging out with friends, doing some homework last-minute, etc. and before you know it, you have to rush to your next class.  However, I’ve been trying to fix this. Some strategies that have been helpful in making myself move along so I’m not late for my classes include planning my outfits beforehand (for example, the night before a busy day of classes I will pick out my outfit and put it somewhere that’s in my face so I can just grab it and go in the morning), allowing myself around 15 minutes to get to class (especially when I’m coming from my dorm), setting clocks around my room at least 5 minutes ahead, setting timers on my phone for when I have leave wherever I’m at during my break to make it to my obligation, etc. A lot of times, particularly after the long Winter Break away from my daily routine, the time to get up and go will just feel like it’s being sprung on me. Obviously, I don’t follow all these tips every day because I’m not perfect but I find that, when I do use these strategies, my day goes so much more smoothly. These past few days have literally felt like unnecessary chaos to me so, if you can relate, try these solutions with me! 

black and white analog gauge

Printing/Preparing Your Books Over Break

If anyone else’s school library is like mine, the printer is super finicky. I hate printing things in there and we are not allowed to have printers in our rooms so it’s my only option when I’m at school. If you’re a theatre or a music major, then you can probably relate to the fact that, a lot of times, I have to print out sheet music, monologues, headshots, resumes, etc. which I totally forgot to do before leaving home this Winter Break. Making a list in your Notes app of all the things you may need to have on hand and printed is a good way to prepare before coming back to school after a lengthy break (I wish I did this for myself this semester). Another thing I waited too long to do for this semester was buy/rent my books for classes. Make sure before you leave home to return to school that you get that in check because it will make the process of re-adjusting to your daily routine so much easier by saving time, I promise you. 

Remember To Eat And Drink Water

This sounds completely obvious but I swear I’ve been struggling with this lately. Looking at your schedule and thinking about when you can get a meal or eat a few snacks in between classes can be helpful, especially when you have back to back classes. Sometimes you just get so caught up in what you’re doing, it’s easy to bypass getting a bottle of water or eating breakfast because you have to get to class. If you’re like me, try to be more strategic with when you’ll eat and maybe even do some meal planning if that resonates with you. It’s so important to not skip meals because food is fuel, duh. It’s especially important to pay attention to when you eat if you have physical classes like Ballet, Jazz, etc. in your schedule like me. 

Get Those Planners Out

Planners, it’s your time to shine. I’ve been in need of so much mental organization lately so obviously the usage of my Notes app and Google Docs on my laptop has been in full force. I love to make to-do lists, checklists, charts, etc. in these apps to keep myself focused. Get yourself a calendar or make use of the Calendar app/Google Calendar because, I swear, dates sneak up on you like that. Some people like to do spreadsheets to lay out all their homework, tests, auditions, etc. but I rarely do that. Regardless of how you organize yourself though, it is extremely beneficial to have a visual representation of everything that's going on so you can look back to it when needed. Lay it out at the beginning of the semester so when you go on the next break, like the upcoming Spring Break, you’re not totally overwhelmed when you return to campus. 

white printer paper on macbook pro

Don’t Be A Ghost

Just because you’re back at school does not mean that everything you did and everyone you saw at home goes away. Call your family and friends! Chances are they are adjusting to life after the holiday season, just like you. I was definitely guilty of leaving my old life behind last semester which is great sometimes but then when you do come home, it feels like a different world. At college, sometimes it feels like you're living two separate lives and, when you come back from breaks, it can be emotionally confusing to be in the place you mentally left behind for a while. If anyone has ever felt this way, just know that you’re not alone because I’ve been feeling it for days, like I'm living in between two versions of myself, and I’m sure others can relate. Checking in with the people you’re now physically distanced from since you’re away at school can be a great way to ground yourself/remind yourself that there’s more to your life than what goes on in college.  

That’s all I’ve got this time around! Happy Spring Semester! 

clear glass mug on three stacked books inside room

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