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Unwind Wisely

Kristin Roots

Fall Break Jitters

Fall break has come to an end, and now it's time to get back to the hustle. Most of the time before fall break, I find myself feeling a bit anxious because I have to see my family again and adjust to being at home for a bit. But when it's all over, I don't want to leave.

Let me take you back to last year's fall break, a time when my anxiety was at its peak. As I packed my bags and prepared to journey back to my family, I couldn't shake the knot of anxiety that twisted in my stomach. The prospect of leaving my college life behind for a while and returning to the familiar surroundings of home weighed heavily on me.

It's a feeling many college students can relate to, I'm sure. It's the result of complex dynamics with family members, coupled with the abrupt transition from a structured academic life to a less defined one. This time, as I gazed out of the car window on the way home, I couldn't help but wonder how I'd fill my week off.

Would I spend it mostly with family or friends? Would I just stay in my room and sleep, write, or go to antique shops? My mind did not just see school as work, but the very concept of fall break became work too. I found myself stressed about it before it even came, and during the early parts of it, I was on high alert, expecting big projects to come from somewhere.

Now that fall break is over, however, I have done some true reflection. Each break I've had since my first year has always been filled with some kind of anxiety. I think, to an extent, that it is normal to have some anxieties before going home from college during a break. It depends on relationship dynamics with family members or just the very fact of being pulled out of a consistent schedule to not one at all.

Each time I say I am going to plan my breaks, I never do. I end up staying up until two or three in the morning, watching Gilmore Girl reruns, or maladaptive daydreaming about being a princess in some fantasy story…yes, I do imagine things like this often... still.

What I am trying to say to all and to myself is that a break is what you make it to be. If you want to rest and sleep all day, then rest. If you want to work, then you can work. If you want to dream, then dream. It should not be a time where you find yourself stressed out every single day. If you spend a whole week feeling anxious, then you waste time and waste the precious hours within each day.

Instead of stressing about an assignment that is due after the break, assure yourself that you will put time into that assignment when you are ready. However, remember the hard work you have put forth before your break and realize that this break is well deserved.

I did not truly understand this until towards the end of the break last week. I feel some regret that I stressed a lot, but I will just wait for my second chance on Thanksgiving break to breathe and forget about my worries for at least a little while.

Kristin Roots