I’ve been home twice since move-in day in August– for Columbus Day weekend and Thanksgiving– but both of my stays have been really more like visits. Four or five days is not nearly enough time to truly unwind and recharge at home, especially when a mountain of homework is calling your name, midterms and finals loom in the near future, and the holidays are blissfully distracting you from getting any real work done. As such, I am ecstatic to finally be home for a solid month before going back for the next semester. I love school at Wheaton (MA, not IL) but those oldies Christmas tunes are right: there really is no place like home for the holidays.
Being home in between semesters is the strangest feeling. Due to the fact that my classes just ended I have no homework to do, no essays to write, no articles to read and no exams to study for. I don’t even know what textbooks I need for next semester, so it’s not as if I can get a head start in that regard. In January I’ll be busy with another internship, but for these next few weeks of the holiday season I am positively, absolutely free. I can read as much as I want, watch as much Netflix as I want, sit around in my pajamas well into the afternoon, and hang out with the friends that I haven’t seen in what feels like forever. My schedule is more clear than it has been in years– in fact, go look at a dish you recently cleaned. See how spotless that is? That, my good friends, is my current schedule.
And I love it.
What a difference from a mere week ago when finals were quite possibly driving me insane! Since Thanksgiving I had exclusively done homework with very little time for much of anything else. If I wasn’t attending class, in a meeting, tapping (I’m in Wheaton’s tap dancing group!), eating, or sleeping, then there’s about a 99.995% chance that I was doing homework. By the time I handed in my last final paper and took my Spanish final exam I was basically the definition of burnt out.
Even before finals week I didn’t really have a lot of free time to do the amount of reading that I have done in the past. My wonderful friends occupied most of my free time, for which I am incredibly happy and grateful. As a consequence, my reading definitely fell to the wayside. Sure, I read quite a lot for my Introduction to Literature class (which was amazing, by the way– maybe I’ll write a post about it in the near future?) but very little of anything else. Looking back, I like to laugh about the large stack of books that I foolishly brought with me to college. How in the world did I think I would be able to read all of them? Instead of bringing five or six books with me like I did this past semester I’ll probably only bring one or two. Realistically, that’s probably all I’ll have time to read. (Plus, there’s a gigantic library on campus to fuel my bookish needs.)
What I’m trying to say is that college has definitely changed both my reading habits and the amount that I read. Not only does my busy schedule mean that I have less time to read, but the analytical way I’ve been “trained” to read for my literature classes means that now I often take my time when reading something to better understand it. I can shut that mindset off, of course, but I’m not all that sure that I want to. I feel as though I get so much more from books by reading them this way that I necessarily view as a disadvantage.
Moral of the story? I am looking forward to a solid month of doing absolutely whatever I want during this glorious winter break. And you know what that means: SO. MUCH. READING. I’ll be doing other things as well, but at least for a few days I feel as though I need to simply curl up with a good book (or two or three) and just relax.
*sigh of relief* Now, bring on the Christmas spirit!
For those of you also on winter break, do you experience these feelings as well? How do you like to spend your winter breaks? Got any bookish recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments section below!