Pardon me for conveniently overlooking finals week, but we’re just so close to Winter Break. Risking my immediate success but securing my longer-term sanity, I would rather dream about a post-finals utopia than dwell on what is required to usher that utopia into being. So, the holidays! They are less than a month away now, and in college time, that’s hardly longer than a heartbeat. I’m usually not one for prior planning (in cases where it actually matters), but when something as liberating as Winter Break is around the corner, I’m a fan of shirking the present and doting on the future.
All of us to some extent anticipate the holidays, but not always for the same reasons. Some of us return to mounds of snow and themed family game nights, and others retire to quieter, less festive homes. Most years, I myself enter a sweet — and, I like to think, well-earned — period of dormancy, drowning in television and reaching new heights of food consumption and unproductivity. There are several ways to spend Winter Break though, and I’m fond of all of them — you can even mix and match! Ultimately, they all lead to a wholesome outcome.
Are you staying at home over break? Ah, classic. You might find that you’ve turned 16 again the minute you cross the threshold of the front door, and this has its perks –– more pampering, zero real responsibilities. In typical holiday fashion, you will undoubtedly interact with the array of family members whom, to your joy or dismay, you resemble in many dimensions. Holiday meals aren’t the only things you have to digest at home –– there’s also the pointed commentary, but hey, laugh it off –– it’s only temporary. It can also be difficult to bear witness to streams of exciting social media posts, but even if relaxation doesn’t picture well, remember there are few feelings as luxurious. Traditionally, I start feeling a lull around early January, but even in extreme cases of boredom-induced delusion, do not for a moment let yourself wish for the next semester to hurry up and start already. You will regret it, and you might never forgive yourself.
Are you traveling over break? Brilliant –– you’ve really captured the essence of an escape from routine life. Better yet, you’ve made it glamorous. You’ve also got yourself a handy excuse for being a painfully slow texter –– there’s something about the holiday season that strips communication technology of its power and me of my will to stay in contact with the outside world. So go on, be free! Whether you’re traveling near or far, embrace the new setting and the change of pace, just for a while, and don’t forget to bring back some conversation starters and souvenirs to distract from the reality that will inevitably engulf you again.
Are you working over break? If so, then you aren’t leaving the Cornell lifestyle too far behind, but you’ll probably come back pretty far ahead. Cornell’s breaks are especially long in comparison to those of other schools, and for you, my professional friend, this translates to a hefty salary and impressive experience.
Are you pursuing some long-tabled goals or doing some soul-searching? Then I stand with you in solidarity. I’m often of the mindset that shorter time spans see stronger results (the alternative would be confronting the fact that my time could have amounted to so much more). So, all those projects you didn’t quite get around to accomplishing — revive them over break. Time is just a human construct anyway, so start now!
Are you looking back at 2017 with rose-colored glasses, or looking ahead to 2018 with starry eyes? Maybe a little bit of both? A lot can transpire over the course of 365 days — a lot changes and a lot remains the same and a lot is yet to come. Whatever the holiday season holds for you, whether nostalgia or optimism or indifference or relief, welcome it, and above all, stay cozy!
Priya Kankanhalli ’19 is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Matters of Fact appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.