Wednesday, September 3, 2008

University of Maryland Winter Break

Adjusting to the start of the spring semester is one of the most difficult things I've encountered. It's infinitely harder than adjusting to the fall semester. The fall semester comes on the heels of summer jobs. Not a hard act to follow. However, the spring semester comes on the heels of winter break.

Winter break is the most relaxing, most responsibility-free, most glorious time of our lives. There are no classes, no papers, no exams. There are no jobs, no managers and no bosses. Some of you may disagree with me. Particularly those of you who chose to take a class or work over winter break. But I am not to be blamed for your mistakes.

Winter break is wonderful because of the simple pleasures. When else in life is it acceptable to wear exclusively sweatpants, to sleep until 4 p.m., to not know what day of the week it is, to watch a seven-hour marathon of America's Next Top Model? Never. Well . . . all right, there are exceptions; perhaps if you're sick, having a migraine, suffering from depression, etc. But answer me this: When else in life is it acceptable to partake in these lethargic activities for an entire month straight? Only during winter break.

Any debate between summer and winter break can be cleared up by a simple glance to the calendar. Yes, summer break is longer, but that's not my point. Look more carefully. Winter break begins with holidays. For many of us, present-receiving holidays! For all of us, a holiday where the main point is to stay up late drinking! And what does the start of summer break offer? Let's see … it begins at the end of May … just in time for … oh, great, summer job interviews. Hooray. And what else? Mother's Day?! Followed closely by Father's Day?! Those are present-giving holidays!

So winter break begins with new stuff and evenings dedicated to drinking while summer break begins with seeing what it's like to be a working adult and losing money in order to be nice to your parents. What a contest.

I stand firmly in my belief that winter break is not an appropriate time to get a job. Future employers, grad school admission boards and parents expect you to get a job during the summer. But winter break is too short for anyone, especially parents, to expect a job. And, even if your parents are pushy, winter break has built-in escapes from employment. At every job you apply for, simply state that you refuse to work more than the month you're off from school. Also be sure to demand time off to relax after exams, time off for Christmas (regardless of religion) and, of course, a few days of vacation to recuperate after New Year's. You'll find potential employers rather reluctant to hire you. Especially if you really stress how much you'll need to recuperate after New Year's.

The University of Maryland has one of the longest undergraduate winter breaks. It is quite a blessing. For those of you who complain that winter break is "too long" or "boring," you are being incredibly disrespectful. Full-blown adults don't get a month off from work. I have a feeling you'll regret your bold comments sometime in adulthood when you roll over at 6:45 a.m. to turn off your alarm (which for some reason no longer plays music, but just emits a series of sharp beeps) only rising so you can sit in commuter traffic for hours and hopefully be on time to your soul-crushingly bland nine-to-five job.

I don't mean to scare you about the future. I'm sorry. You see, I'm a senior, thus I've recently run out of winter breaks. And all I can do now is make sure everyone realizes that winter break is something to be cherished.

Don't kill the time; absorb it. Hold on to each nothing-filled minute. Sleep as much as you possibly can. And after you wake up, stay lying down for as long as you possibly can. Spend some quality time with the TV. Watch E!. Watch Jurassic Park 3 with the violence edited out on TBS. Because if you don't do it during winter break, you may never get another chance. Winter break is an opportunity; seize it.

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