Winter Break Woes

Ah, winter break … just a short week and several finals away; many students are giddy with the expectations of going home to family, home-cooked meals and relaxing. Yet, even with all the hype about the break from school, there are still students who are dreading the thought of winter break. Of course, the common complaint about break is that it’s too short, but there are still other problems that students tend to encounter when headed home. Whether it be having to go back to siblings that have the slyest ways of getting under their skin or participating in traditional holiday events that have lost their former glory, there are plenty of reasons that the break isn’t always as fun as people expect.

For me, and for plenty of people on campus, one sad part of break is that friends who live far away go back home. It’s much more difficult to meet up with people once everyone gets into their routine schedules at home and becomes busy (or rather, lazy). Sure, there’s always Skype and texting, but it definitely cannot compare to chilling with each other in person.

Yet, despite missing all my UC Irvine peeps, it’s nice to see all my old high school friends come back into town so we can reconnect. Not all of them can return for Thanksgiving and many have adventures during summer rather than returning home, so winter break is a great occasion to reunite and share exciting school and life stories.

For many students, it’s difficult to get out of the mindset of a break once school starts again in January for winter quarter. This is a problem that has frequently occurred for third-year Aswini Ponnaluri.

“I get into the holiday mood and it’s hard to get back into school mode again,”  Ponnaluri said.

As many students can understand, the stress of the school year makes people want to forget that they even learned anything in the weeks before. Especially with the quarter system, where the lessons go quick and the tests pile up, it is not easy to want to get your head back in the game when classes begin again. All the focus that’s built up during the quarter dissipates the day that the last final or paper is completed. Still, when all is said and done, that’s not enough reason to make someone not look forward to break.

“It’s hard to say that I don’t like winter break coming, especially now when school gets so tiring. I definitely enjoy the time I get to spend with my family and friends,”  Ponnaluri said.

Fourth-year Anhthu Tong also has mixed feelings about winter break.

“I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to getting rid of my current course load, but once I do that, I realize that I’m just making room to study for something else — the MCAT,”  Tong said. “Seriously, all I want to do is just play!”

Like Tong, many students in their last couple of years are preparing for important tests coming up, adding stress to their normally peaceful breaks. With MCATs, GREs, CBESTs and so many more tests deciding the future of many, it’s difficult to think of winter break as anything more than a perfect opportunity to dedicate to studying. Still, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost to enjoy this winter season!

“Despite the downside, I love this season — Christmas lights, peppermint bark, hot chocolate and scarves are some of my favorite things about this time of year. They make it difficult to dread winter break,”  Tong said.

Just as Tong mentioned, there are so many things about winter break to look forward to. Cold weather that makes you want to cuddle up inside with a warm drink, Christmas music and movies that don’t feel right during any other time of year, and the excitement of spending holidays with loved ones are just a few of the things that make people so happy for break to finally arrive. And despite any of the experiences that make winter break seem dreadful, the reality is that we’re all impatiently waiting for finals to pass so we can go home, put our feet up and enjoy the moments of joyous peace.