What to do on campus during breaks


The Daily Illini File Photo

Cars pass the intersection of Sixth and Green Street while students wait to pass. Opinions editor Tyler writes about campus life during breaks and what students can look forward to when campus is much less busy.

By Tyler Panlilio, Opinions Editor

One thing I tend to forget about my international friends is that during weekends or even breaks, they can’t just go home and see their families. I’d often catch myself from asking if they were excited to be back home after a long semester.

At first thought, staying on campus when almost everyone else is home to see their families for the holidays is a bit disheartening. What do you do for Thanksgiving break when everyone else is at home?

Winter break is essentially just a month later and is now only three weeks (compared to the four in previous years).

Then spring break hits and it’s really just 10 days, so not many international students go back home then, either.

It’s even more difficult if you land a summer internship here in Champaign, or really anywhere that’s not back home, because then you might not see your family for the majority of summer break either.

But there’s a silver lining here. A lot of my international friends have gone on trips with other students who stay on campus. Thanksgiving break could be a trip to the Windy City with a few other buds. You could try shopping on Black Friday or just chill out for the weekend and wait until Cyber Monday to cop the things you want.

If it turns out you can’t make it back home for winter break, definitely learn the art of being cozy; that is, a lot of hot chocolate, a warm apartment and a bunch of movies to watch with a comfy blanket at your disposal. If you’re in the mood, all you need to celebrate Christmas is a festive spirit, so why not try wrapping some gifts, playing some Christmas music and making any variation of a Christmas tree — even if it’s only for yourself and a few close friends. A little self-celebration never hurt anybody.

But if you’re the Grinch and want to ditch the cold weather, maybe try going on a road trip with some friends to hit some of the warmer states. Or just stay in your apartment and take comfort knowing you’re incapable of empathy.

Self-deprecating jokes aside, staying on campus for any amount of time doesn’t require any amount of traveling either. Being content with staying on campus exclusively and doing your own thing is equally as good as anything else you might do, as long as you’re content with it.

A notorious example of this is spring break. If you check your phone during this time, it’s more or less an oversaturation of bikini pics and beach bods accompanied by a lot of yelling and screaming. But in the same vein as traveling over breaks, not everyone wants to or can afford to; your spring break does not have to include any of that. Working out at the ARC or CRCE over these 10 days to get a head start on that summer bod is not a bad idea. Completely pigging out and binge-watching Netflix series during that time is perfectly fine, too.

Spending your downtime in the summer here could entail something as simple as going on walks, exploring the rest of Champaign and Urbana on a bike or going out with friends on the weekend. Catch movies out on the Main Quad every Thursday for free or go downtown and explore the live music shows and overall nightlife there over the summer.

The takeaway here is breaks should be about some much-needed downtime and that means taking the time to make sure you’re OK. School can be a serious weight on your shoulders, so it’s important to enjoy yourself during these breaks — even if you happen to be quite a ways from home.

Tyler is a junior in Media.

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