Why Winter Break is actually the worst

‘Winter kills trees and winter break kills ambition’

After months of  dull dining hall food, bizarre sleeping hours, and grueling exams, winter break is often viewed as the light at the end of the tunnel for most college students. Whether you’re a first-year student or getting ready to graduate, dropping out has probably already crossed your mind. Indeed, by mid-December, not a lot sounds better than a several-week-long vacation featuring the holidays and your hometown.

However, after experiencing my very first winter break as a real-life college student, I am shocked by the complexity of emotions involved with such an event. How can a time filled with sleep and lacking due dates be simultaneously terrific and terrible? Well, here’s how.

It makes you miss your high school friends

By now you’ve had to adjust to life without your high school friends, sustaining your relationships through Snapchat filters and the rare FaceTime. However, winter break wants to change all that by reestablishing (gasp) genuine human connection.

Now, your hometown friends can reenter your life seamlessly, reminding you why you loved them so much in the first place while you try to remind yourself that you’re leaving again in a few weeks. It’s the perfect way to ensure that nostalgia and homesickness will become issues again just when you thought you’d gotten over it. You’re welcome.

But you miss your college friends simultaneously

College is a strange and unique place where friendships are formed fast through shared elation and struggle. Not only is every night practically a slumber party, but every meal becomes a social event. When you’ve never even spent a day away from your new companions, a couple of weeks seems like an eternity.

Who’s going to watch Netflix with you at 2:00 AM when you should be doing anything but that? Sure, maybe you can watch Netflix without as much guilt when you’re at home, but it’s just not the same.

Your parents become parents again

Independence may have been difficult to adjust to, but now you can’t imagine having to let someone know your whereabouts before you go to a dance party or feel like a midnight fast food run. Once you’re out at home though, you receive that all-too familiar text: “Where are you? When do you think you’ll be home?”

You’re confused. They’re confused. Winter break is weird.

You forget what homework even is

Homework. That compound word has dominated every waking moment of your life since early autumn. Now, suddenly thrown into a strange world where essays and problem sets have momentarily ceased to exist, you discover the beauty of free time.

This is a dangerous bargain, however, for this addicting alternate reality only serves to make it that much harder when you must return to being a full-time student. Is education really worth it? After winter break, you may not be so sure.

All. The. Questions.

It’s like Thanksgiving break on steroids. The more time you spend at home, the more chances you have to run into adults that ask you anxiety-inducing questions about your future. When you’re not defending your choice to be single, you’ll have plenty of time to wonder if your choice of major can turn into a viable career after all. Ah, home sweet home.

The length is disorienting

During winter break, the time you spend at home is just enough to fall back into old routines: you shower in your bathroom again, drive to familiar places again, fight with your siblings again. Weeks and weeks of this can start to affect your sanity. Are you back in high school again? Did you ever even leave?

After a period of time, you may start to wonder if you ever even left for college or if it was all an elaborate fantasy.

Productivity is out of the question

As you enter winter break, you undoubtedly have high hopes for all of the fruitful things you can do with all of your downtime. Maybe you can finally finish that application for a summer job or financial aid! Maybe you can get ahead on some scheduling for next quarter! Maybe you can finally read a book for pleasure!

But, alas, you probably won’t do any of these things. Winter kills trees and winter break kills ambition.

You have to come back to school

Perhaps the worst part of winter break isn’t winter break at all, but the brief period immediately after. With school returns the piles of homework, the scheduled eating times, and the inadequate sleeping hours. You’ll also have to talk about your winter break endlessly since it’s the only conversation starter people will have for a couple of days.

Winter break, in all of its cruelty, will indeed relax your mind, restore your energy, and reconnect you with people. It will also sadden you, confuse you, and ultimately set you up for disappointment.  In other words, winter break sucks because it ends.

Stanford University