Frigid air nipping at slivers of exposed skin, frazzled looks on nearly every stranger passed on the way to class, all of this could only mean one thing: the end of the fall semester.
While for the most part, residential students are excited to go home for break, a few aspects of campus living will be missed.
Independence. The term “helicopter parent” can come to a few residential students’ minds. Some students are lucky enough to say their parents trust them and allow them to be adults. But others, it is as though they never turned 18, never became a legal adult, always being told to consult their parents before carrying out an action. Going home can be a puzzle. While a student is living at home during winter break, they are expected to abide the house rules. Meanwhile, they fell into a routine for the past 16 weeks, living the “college life” how they saw fit.
Convenience. One of the leading factors to living on campus is convenience. The unbeatable proximity to classes, campus happenings, friends and the general area. Depending on a student’s hometown, living on campus is a different world. Some people are used to walking everywhere because their destinations are down the street. But others? They get used to the freedom of almost everything being in walking distance, only to go home to the harsh reality of having to get in the car to get to Point A to Point B.
College friends. The friendships developed during college years are the ones people say will last a lifetime, and it is true. Think about out it for a second. During any given day, a student will see majority of his or her friends, and that is just in those passing, unplanned moments. Going from everyday sightings to 30-ish days without seeing them can be hard. Students may try to make plans to meet up during the break, and sometimes those plans fall through. Just remember: those friendships will be waiting come the spring semester.
And of course, there are a few missed parts of home, a list that was growing since the start of the semester.
Laundry. At home, a student can have (almost) total control of the washer and dryer. For those who don’t live on campus, here’s some Campus Living 101 wisdom: laundry time in the residence halls can be brutal. It is a long process that requires some thinking, math and elbow grease. Is there enough time between classes for a full cycle, or does a student select “Quick Cycle” and cut the washing time in half? There are approximately 200 to 400 students in each building, depending on the residence hall. One of the rare blissful moments is when a student walks into the laundry room to all machines being unused, and having the freedom to pick which washer will be theirs for the next 36 minutes. The possible difficulty leads to many residents to put off laundry day until they have no more clean socks, which leads to them requiring three (sometimes more) machines. Note: do not be that person who decides their clothes can hang out in the dryer for an hour after the cycle is done. Be considerate, people.
Pets. Nearly nothing compares to those lovely therapeutic moments when students are finally able to hug their pets. Seeing that goofy grin on the pet’s face when the pet realizes the student is home to stay for a few weeks instead of a quick weekend visit. Great. Feeling.
Childhood friends. It is interesting how friends can go without seeing each other for months, and yet pick up right where things left off. Winter break gives students—residential and commuters—more free time to see those friends. Neglected friendships are neglected no more as stories of all genres—comedy, horror, drama—of the past semester are told.
Food. For a solid month, gone are those campus and frozen meals that are not home cooked. Winter break is when residential students take advantage—admittedly a little too much sometimes—of home cooking.
Whether the weeks ahead are packed with happenings or blank, leaving the options open on a day-to-day basis, this time will be refreshing. So, do not waste any minute getting comfortable because these weeks will go by fast. Savor the moments with friends, family and beloved pets.