Stuff your Thanksgiving break with relaxation

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

nagelberghayleyYou’ve handed in your last paper, you’ve taken your last exam, you settle into the car or plane or train and make your way home for Thanksgiving break.  

You can see the next nine days before your eyes – catching up on all the Netflix you’ve missed, eating all the home-cooked meals your parents haven’t been able to prepare for you, hanging out with high school friends and sleeping a seemingly impossible number of hours in a row.  It’s going to be beautiful.

After three months without more than a single official day off from school, a break is more than deserved.  These last weeks have challenged us all in more ways than we could have even begun to imagine when we rolled up to campus at the end of August.

A few nights ago, I received a group message from someone who oversees an RSO I’m involved in, asking if on the Sunday after Thanksgiving our building should stay open later than usual – so that students could complete work that they would inevitably fail to do over break.  This proposition was met with overwhelming support by everyone, myself included.  

Somehow, we all seemed to know weeks in advance that we would neglect to do work over Thanksgiving break.  You may have a lot of work to do over break, you may have very little work to do over break – you can do it at the beginning, or you can put it off until the Sunday you get back to campus.

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We are given the opportunity to forget about many of the stresses that have become routine this semester.  And this year has provided us a number of good outlets to relieve our stress.

Don’t want to talk about your love life or lack thereof with your aunts and uncles over the Thanksgiving table?  Change the conversation to politics.

Do you never want to talk politics again?  Explain your summer internship options.  

Don’t want to tell your parents that you haven’t figured out what you’re doing this summer?  Outline that final term paper that you were supposed to be working on this whole year.  

Don’t want to work on that paper?  Drive somewhere to meet up with friends for dinner.  

The possibilities for your week off are endless; what matters is not so much what you do but that you use the time to focus on what matters most to you.  

Thanksgiving break. Not just fall break. Actually take the time to give thanks for the things around you. When you are in your normal school routine, it is easy to get entirely consumed by life here – to focus on issues that in the “real world” don’t matter as much.

Be thankful you have the opportunity to be here learning despite the hardships it brings. Be thankful for your family members who enable you to create your own life on this campus that they aren’t a part of. Be thankful for the freedom you have here, and be thankful for the comforts you find back home.

Time has a way of flying by, and while you enjoy your week off, realize that when you come back you have two weeks and then finals and then you’re done. If you’re a freshman, realize that you will never be a confused and overwhelmed first semester student again.

If you’re studying abroad in the spring, that means you have this limited time to make your memories before next August. If you’re a senior, realize that you have one more full semester to experience all you want to accomplish here.

It is necessary to take a break, to take some time to catch your breath and regroup, and give yourself the freedom to not think about school entirely.  

This week should be utilized to prioritize your own needs, take in all the great opportunities that surround you and get yourself geared up to power through the tail end of the semester.

Hayley is a sophomore in ACES.

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