After leaving the responsibilities of life for seven days I have tanned to a sultry copper, considered dropping out to become a bum, eaten my weight in food and gagged at the idea of returning to the monotony of class. But, regardless of how I feel, there’s no way of avoiding the inevitable. Unless I decide to fully commit to being a beach bum, I have to return.
My hope is to hobble through the final month and a half with a modicum of productivity, so I’ll need to prepare accordingly.
Allow for ample recovery time
All too often I witness people coming back from a break on the evening before classes start. Such a last minute approach may be successful for a rare few, but in reality nearly everyone needs time to fully recover and a few hours won’t be enough. You might seem refreshed on Sunday night, but come Monday morning and you won’t have quite the same thought.
The exhaustion found from fun excursions or even just doing nothing is surprising. Whether you went to Florida or you went home, your body needs time to recover in your own college space. The difference made means feeling more adjusted for the Monday morning gloom.
Prepare your mental state
While you’re getting your body ready, you would also be wise to prepare yourself mentally. Even having all the physical rest in the world won’t help if your mind hasn’t been prepped for the level of work you will receive even on the first day back.
Though most breaks are only a week, I’m constantly amazed at how seven days of doing nothing can do as much damage to the way you think as having an entire summer off.
You might ready yourself by doing a little bit of homework on the evening before your classes begin. I know, what a blasphemous thing to say!
Homework during your break? Who ever heard of such a thing? But I find doing a little bit of homework before returning to classes can help soften a bit of the mental shock you are bound to experience.
Ease into the idea of schedules
I just finished living several days that consisted of a lifestyle with no agenda. But I have to face the truth: reality is coming toward me with a vengeance.
How quickly the unwanted friend called “real life” creeps back in.
Despite how I may feel, if I refuse to take the time to ease back into unwanted schedules, the first day back of being told when and where I need to be somewhere will not go well.
I suggest making a mini itinerary for yourself on the day before classes start. Don’t just lay around watching Netflix and sleeping, though I know you want to do this because I do.
You don’t have to take massive steps. You could try planning the little things in your day like going to the grocery store, folding laundry or making dinner. You would be amazed at how much structure you can create in your small moments. You will feel significantly better when you have to return to having every single moment of your day scheduled again.
Power through to the end
If I’m being honest, returning to your normal life is probably going to be a bit rough no matter what you do or how you prepare, but the return is always made easier when you know your remaining time is constantly dwindling.
Most universities are only in session for about five or six more weeks. You simply have to will yourself to keep going.
During your time off you’ve slept (hopefully), you’ve relaxed and you’ve been rejuvenated. The time off should be just the push you needed to power through until the end of the semester.
You don’t need to have the same willpower as you did in the beginning, but if you take one day at a time you might possibly be able to, at the very least, crawl to the finish line. Just think, the next break you’re working toward is summer break!
Welcome/Ignore the tears
Waterworks are a choice. You either welcome them or you reject them.
Sometimes the surest way to quick stress relief is to just let the tears flow unabashed. Losing your ability to choose to do absolutely nothing in your free time can be overwhelming and frustrating. Some people find the release of your inner emotions to be helpful in calming you down and preparing you for your imminent return.
Of course, not everyone finds crying to be the optimal reaction. Some people might even find the reaction silly, so a lot of students find more use in holding the weeping at bay. Crying will simply make your emotions more raw and the pain more real. Why would you willingly choose to make your return even more difficult for yourself?
To each his own, I suppose.
Eventually you’re just going to have to put on your big boy or girl pants and accept that being an adult means things won’t always be ideal. Someday you’re going to graduate, get a job (I hope) and enter the true “real world.”
So, here’s a secret for you—someday in the not so distant future you won’t get a Spring Break! And you’re just going to have to get used to the fact. Times may seem rough right now, but at least you’re getting regular breaks.
But I suppose you still have at least a year or more before your reality alters, so enjoy the breaks while you can.
Regardless of how you ready yourself for the inevitable return to life, there is no way of avoidance. So, may your mind be sound, your stress be low and your last six weeks be tolerable.