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Opinion: Surviving holiday break is no easy task

By Chancellor Mills
On November 30, 2010

Here we go. We're now in the final stretch of the 2010 fall semester. Are all you little freshmen out there getting excited about your first extended break from school? Yeah, I bet you are.

Well, before you start your packing for the winter break and dreaming of sugar plums or whatever, I'm here to tell you that a college student's first Christmas break will likely not be the homemade heaven that you are imagining. In all likelihood, it will probably suck – aside from all the Christmas loot, of course.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "I'm sorry Mr. Scrooge, but I have to disagree. I went home for Thanksgiving and didn't have any friction at all. It was amazing."

And to you, I say: "Shut up, listen and learn." Yeah, maybe you went home for Thanksgiving and it WAS probably amazing. Do you want to know why? It's because the three or four days that you spent with your family was not long enough for them to get sick of the newfound independence you have developed after a semester of fending for yourself at school. But this is Christmas break. We're talking about FOUR WEEKS for you and your family to annoy the crap out of one another while you count down the minutes until you get to return to Commerce and all the friends you've made here during your first semester.

But don't worry kiddies – it's not all bad news. I'm here to give you a rough timeline of your break and what you have to look forward to between the fall and spring semesters.

Week One – "All Quiet On The Western Front"

The first week of the break will generally progress pretty smoothly. You are happy to be home, have a home-cooked meal, relax from all the responsibility that has probably overwhelmed you for the past few weeks, and maybe even catch up with some of your "friends from back home." As for your family, your parents will be jumping with joy to have their "baby" back, and your siblings (if you have any) might even be happy to see you because it means that your parents' scrutiny will not be focused entirely on them while you're at home. You may even be happy to get back to work so you can make some extra money to purchase Christmas presents.

Week Two – "'Tis The Season"

Christmas usually occurs at the end of week one or at the beginning of week two, which means that any tension that may or may not have already been building will now be replaced with Christmas cheer. The glee of getting free stuff will keep everyone at ease for a little while longer. And so, all is well throughout week two.

Week Three – "Something Wicked This Way Comes"

In week three, tensions will begin to rise yet again as your parents begin to get annoyed by your new nocturnal sleep cycle. They will also likely become perturbed by your unwillingness to perform everyday chores that you used to before college, because they don't understand that you have been performing those routines all semester and don't think you should have to do them now because you are, after all, on winter BREAK. Also, by this point, you have probably realized that you have now completely outgrown your hometown friends – or vice versa – and have no desire to be around them. In addition to this, you have now worked at your job throughout the better part of your winter holiday and you are now convinced that, if one more person asks you where the "electronics" department is at Best Buy, you may just black out for several hours, during which you will violently quit your job and go on a customer killing spree that would make Jack the Ripper blush.

Week Four – "The Final Countdown"

OK, so you have one week left of your winter break – final stretch. It's at this point that I recommend you get a nice pair of around-the-ear headphones and start blasting speed metal into your brain during all hours of the day. This will hopefully drown out your parents' desperate pleas for you to just clean the moldy, used plates off of your bed, which is starting to give you that weird rash. Now is the time in which you will be thankful that you are able to start the process of moving back to school. Being able to pack will help keep your mind off the recurring dream you've been having for the last week in which your family is killed in a mugging, you get a fat inheritance and start fighting crime as a real-life Batman. Despite how you may be feeling about your break thus far, in the final moments before you leave, it is still inevitable that there will be a tearful goodbye. However, as people who have been in this situation know, these are bittersweet tears. You and your parents are a little sad that you have to go back to school, but you are both ready to get away from each other.

Remember how I said that it wasn't all bad news? I lied.

Happy [expletive deleted] Holidays!

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