Mosaic’s guide to first-year students for surviving the university’s lengthy Winter Session
Fall semester is finally coming to an end and you’re anxious to return home to your family. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Personally, as a Delaware native who’s only about 45 minutes away from campus, I didn’t have a huge adjustment to make when entering college. I am relatively close to campus, but I was still able to enjoy the college experience. For my out-of-state peers, I realize that whether you’re Florida-, Connecticut- or California-bound, being back at home can be an adjustment — major or minor.
College life can be liberating and college norms can force an independence that is both frightening and exhilarating. Leaving campus and returning to an environment affectionately known as “home” might give a few people pause. The sights, smells and sounds of home, albeit familiar, may be viewed through a different, more mature lens.
Two months is a huge amount of time to be away from campus and your college friends. You’ve been away for five months and now you’re back in your old stomping grounds, anxious to catch up with your high school friends.
Whether you’re an out-of-state, in-state or international student, being away from home can be stressful and coming back can be exciting — or terrifying.
Below is Mosaic’s guide to surviving winter break as a first-year student — whether that be a first-year student who is going back home for winter break or an international student who is unable to return and will spend winter break here on campus.
Spend time with your loved ones: Enjoy the time you have with your friends and family — you haven’t seen them since move-in day so soak up the love.
Don’t be surprised if you miss school: I know it’s shocking but sometimes having a routine is nice. If you find yourself falling into this category, maybe try researching material in anticipation of your spring semester classes.
Some friendships may end: The friends you had eight months ago when you graduated from high school may not be your friends today and that’s okay. Friendships come and go. It just means you are starting to mature and if this is happening to you, venture out and try to make some new friends — or don’t; that’s okay too.
Don’t expect normality: Going back home may seem strange and foreign, so don’t expect everything to be the same as you left it. Relationships between family and friends change and it’s a part of maturing and establishing your own norms.
Reach out in the community: That homeless shelter located a few miles from home or that food bank in an adjoining city would greatly appreciate old clothing — like that coat you won’t wear because it’s “so two-months-ago” — or help bagging food donations. Community service during winter break can be rewarding.
Practice self-awareness and self-care: Try that new cleanse or workout, maybe explore a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. You have extra time to spend, so why not spend it on yourself? After all, you’re a worthwhile investment. If you improve some aspect of yourself in the process, it is a colossal win overall.
Bring your traditions here: If you are unable to visit your parents around the holidays, have your own celebration with your college friends. Put your own flare on the party and add things that remind you of home.
Go explore: This is your time to explore all that Delaware has to offer outside the university. Go to the state parks, explore the shopping venues, go hiking or go to a museum. It’s your time to have fun and enjoy yourself.
Accept that invitation: Take that classmate up on the invitation to visit their family over winter break. You may enjoy the new surroundings, and you can explore the area when visiting.
Make more connections here and abroad: Send messages to loved ones that you’ve lost contact with. Catch them up on your adventures at college while catching up on theirs.
Spend the time: Get together with peers to watch Netflix, try out that new restaurant in town or pamper yourself at the spa or salon with a self-care retreat.
One semester down, one to go! Your first year is almost over. It’s a huge accomplishment. Be proud of yourselves and enjoy winter session! Mosaic looks forward to seeing you in 2019!