Winter break acts as reminder of changes

Amy Brown

Amy BrownETC Editor

Winter Break. That time for selling back your textbooks, shopping for Christmas gifts in crowded stores, spending quality time with your family over the holidays and realizing that “home” doesn’t really feel like your home anymore.

This was my third winter break in my college career. The first one was probably the most awkward. After being at college for a few months, spending a few weeks in your parent’s house can sometimes be described as “an adjustment.”

This year was no exception in the weird winter break tradition. While I spent several days working at one of my part-time jobs, I managed to sleep until noon at least three or four days and do absolutely nothing productive. I also managed to spend every last dime that I got back from the bookstore, probably within the first week of break.

But I did finally see two good movies: “Garden State” (if you haven’t seen it, you should) and “Napoleon Dynamite.” Yes, rental videos played a significant part of my weeks of leisure. As did trips to Barnes & Noble to browse through books and music and wait in line for an overpriced $4 grande peppermint mocha from Starbucks.

I also realized, yet again, that the gap between old high school friends continues to widen as you get further into your college years. If it was awkward the last time you saw your best friend from high school (and that was over three months ago) then chances are winter break will not magically rejuvenate your old friendship. You may start to wonder how you managed to grow into such different people in what seems like a short period of time, since back in the day you could happily spend hours hanging out and doing nothing. Now the conversation dies when small talk ends and the situation becomes more awkward than you ever thought it could be.

The parental units’ oddness also plays a role in winter break. You end up getting frustrated after two days of being home and wonder how you ever lived with these people for the first eighteen years of your life. But hey, while you’re home at least you get all your meals free. I took a break from a steady diet of coffee, Mountain Dew, pizza and Ramen noodles and opted for better meals at home like spaghetti or take-out Chinese food.

However, those idle weeks in December and January do provide a much-needed break from the school year. For the first time in a long time, I was actually not sleep-deprived. I think my record for this year’s break was somewhere around twelve straight hours of slumber. So although winter break was a stress reducer and I have no great excitement to resume classes, I was happy to return to my apartment in Brookings when January rolled around.

Alicia Brown is junior journalism major and philosophy minor.