Winter Break: Expectations vs. Reality

Ah, winter break, an entire month for college students to relax and spend time at home after a long, grueling semester. You are like a rock star that has been constantly touring for months, and now you are taking a hiatus from your hectic schedule. Winter break allows you to take a breather from your daily dose of classes, papers, and exams.

Some students are lucky enough to escape the cold during their vacation. Natasha Brendli, a marketing student stated, “Winter break for me was to get out of New Jersey, the cold, and visit family in Florida. It was a time to relax and not think about school-work.”

However, there is no place like home for the holidays where you can relax, spend time with family and watch your favorite Netflix series, of course. Madison Bulger, a communication student said, “Winter break is a great time to catch-up on my favorite TV shows on Netflix.”

Not only is it a break for students, but it is a break for professors as well. Shannon Hokanson, lecturer in the communication department, described her winter break, “I spent it [winter break] getting my house purged… and spent a vast majority of the time here [at Monmouth University],” she continued. “I can’t tell you that I went on vacation or did anything fun, but it was very functional and deeply satisfying to do all that cleaning. I feel very semester-ready.”

At the beginning of winter vacation, it seems as if there is so much time that you will not even know what to do with it. But you do know that you will enjoy having your bedroom all to yourself, showering without flip flops, and eating your mom’s home-cooked meals rather than the shriveled-up vegetables from the dining hall. It really is the little things in life that make a college student happy.

Before you know it, the month flies by, and winter break is over. Your vacation has ended and now you must return to school, get back on that grind, and finish this new semester strong. Reminiscing on the plans, you made prior to your vacation you begin to realize it did not go quite as expected. The following are some examples of the expectations versus the reality of a college student’s winter break:

Expectation: You bring home 90 percent of your clothes in your dorm because you are going to wear only cute outfits when you are home.

Reality: You wear the same two outfits all of the vacation (which consist of sweatpants and t-shirts).

Expectation: You are going to see all of your friends from high school.

Reality: You only see three of your friends because you are just too lazy to make an effort to hang out with anyone.

Expectation: It is going to snow during the holidays, and it will feel magical.

Reality: The average temperature is about 60 degrees for the holiday season.

Expectation: You are going to get up early and go to the gym.

Reality: You lay in bed all day watching The Office on Netflix; new year, same me.

Expectation: You are going to get so used to being at home, that you will not want to go back to school.

Reality: You are excited to go back to school because you miss your independence and your friends.

Expectation: You will not have to worry about the “freshman 15” because you will be home.

Reality: Your family does not stop feeding you. Also, it is the holiday season, so your diet is nonexistent when there are home-cooked meals and rich desserts on the table.

You made it through the first semester without gaining a pound, but since you have been home you feel like it is time for you to be on My 600-lb Life.

Expectation: You are going to restore your sleeping schedule.

Reality: You stay up until 3 a.m. then do not wake up the next day until 2 p.m. and your sleeping schedule has never been more out-of-whack in your entire life.

Although a typical college student’s expectations for their winter break usually do not withstand reality, the memories made and time spent with loved ones makes returning back to school bittersweet. So, how many days are there left until summer vacation?