About two weeks before thanksgiving break, I made a trip to Fox Run Mall to pick up some not so necessary necessities (items I had convinced myself I needed, that just came back to bite my in the wallet later on) and lo and behold there was a giant, sparkly, light-up REINDEER in the middle of the mall, right next to the Santa meet and greet station. I instantly pulled out my phone, and, laughing at my screen, much to the bewilderment of many a passerby, snapped a pic with the caption “Thanksgiving?”. This was about a month ago now. It being December 1st, my hypocrisy can finally go unchecked and I can allow myself to enjoy the inevitable holiday spirits and well washings that good ol’ American commercialism never fails to elicit. Mulled wine, hints of cinnamon in the air, gingerbread house decorating, holiday music, ridiculously hilarious elven costumes, mini cheesecakes, Pillsbury sugar cookies. Need I say more? This time of year, is definitely, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year.
But, it can also be one of the more stressful. The expectations of family friends, not to mention professors, can take a toll. And, we’ve all been there— it can be very difficult to keep a smile on your face when you’re busy worrying about that one course that you may or may not have skipped one too many classes in (definitely in the former category, parents). So, in light of the holidays, I’ve collected some helpful hints and brought them to one place. Read on for some ideas on how to enjoy the holidays while juggling exams and other “higher-education” priorities.
- You know that planner you bought at the beginning of the year that you swore you were going to use and haven’t touched since that first day of classes? Go digging and whip that out. If you’re neat and organized, you’re one step ahead of us. Actually, if you’re neat and organized, you’re probably already winning this part of the holidays so just bear with me for a minute. Alright, this part is crucial. The problem with finals and holiday shopping/party planning is that they happen simultaneously. Sure, the actual exam usually takes place on one day, but for most people, studying happens days, maybe even weeks, in advance. Try planning out some time for other priorities. And keep it essential. If you only have a saturday or Sunday to get shopping done, shop only for people you know you won’t see over break.
- This part follows nicely from above. Once you planned out the when, plan out the who. I am the worst when it comes to sticking to plans. If you’re like me, but have little time to waste on your own flakiness, choose a friend with a similar schedule to your own, and plan to go shopping with them. It’s easier to follow through on plans when you’re accountable to someone else besides just yourself.
- Studying. When you’re in the lib, with countless textbooks and an infinite amount of eraser shavings surrounding you, find small ways to incorporate your favorite part of the holidays into your five-minute study breaks. Pack some cheer into your thermos in the form of Hot chocolate. Like living in the lap of luxury? Try one of these awesome recipes! If Christmas music is your thing, try creating a playlist and making it your background study music. Just because you’re stuck reading about Orwell’s dystopian society, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays. Just remember to spend more time on that paper than on your Holiday DIY page on Pinterest.
- Usually I’d tell you to take some time for yourself. I still stand by the need for a hot
bathshower or hot-pot of tea every once in awhile. But, this time of year, it’s especially important to remember why we do what we do in the first place. The most important thing you have this holiday are the people in your life. I know, I’m getting sappy on you. But, we spend so much time running around like chickens with our heads chopped off, trying to find the perfect gift at the perfect price, it can be easy to forget what the holidays are actually about. Plan a cookie exchange with your friends, or maybe a wine party. Or maybe even a movie night (Home Alone, anyone?). Just don’t stress out so much to the point of alienating yourself from the people you should be loving right about now. The thought really does count, and in the end they’ll be happy just to spend some time with you.
Well, that’s it for my gleaming pearls of wisdom. Remember, you know yourself best so keep a check on how you’re feeling, and, if finals and the holidays are getting to you, take advantage of the people around you (and the pets) and give yourself a break. Happy holidays and good luck studying, Wildcats !!