Not Messing Up Over Winter Break
Going home is actually kind of hard. Think about it: you spend all of your time at school surrounded by friends that you have a serious connection with and you spend all of your time A) with them B) working on stuff C) doing club things etc.
So then, suddenly, you go home, and you have none of those friends and none of that stuff to occupy your time. Seems scary. Break, though, is really helpful in indulging in things that you can’t get at school, as well as missing some things that make you a little thankful for what you have over there. Kind of like a Joni-Mitchell “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone” sort of situation.
Anyway, here are the keys to having a not-bad time over Winter Break.
Worcester, MA. Heart of the Commonwealth. Home of a pretty serious range of restaurants: Latin, Vietnamese, all sorts of fun things. But the pizza and bagels in Massachusetts are terrible. Awful. Heinous. Of the four “pizza places” that surround Clark’s campus, only one of them has, like, pizza (way to go, Brick Oven). It’s horrible. The bagel situation is even more dire. Since I’m from New York, I have a pretty serious love of pizza and bagels (my love of pizza bagels is surprisingly not that intense). Break is the time to stock up on whatever local fare from your hometown Worcester is unable to reproduce. I have, in approximately forty-eight hours of being home, eaten seven meals. Two were bagel-based. Two were pizza-based. This is good.
2. Avoid all smalltalk.
“Oh, you’re studying abroad?”
“How were your classes?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
These questions come in two types: the kind you don’t want to answer because there’s a whole lot of boring details involved (why does everyone care so much about the different outlet adapters I have to use in England?) or you’re simply annoyed by the nature of the question (classes didn’t go well, the girlfriend thing is a wreck, etc.) These situations can get you annoyed at the person you’re talking to, which will either manifest itself into rudeness during the conversation, or just make you an annoyed person. The best thing to do in a situation like this one is to make up an alarming and fake news story. For example: “Forget about that, did you hear about the stampede of rabid elephants that tore up half of Dallas?” That’ll get them talking about something else.
Friends are good. The great thing about friends is that they don’t care about smalltalk (they’ve probably been annoyed by enough of it in the past few days themselves) and will constantly jump to a bunch of different topics of conversation, making your whole experience together just fun. On my first night back, I got dinner with some of my friends at a Japanese place, and yesterday I went into the city for some fun at Bryant Park with my friends Idan and Claire:
4. Do something.
I read a lot over breaks. It’s sometimes hard to read during the semester because of all the stuff that’s going on. Break is a good time to just sit and read and not worry about squeezing in the last five pages before you have to meet so-and-so or go do such-and-such. Over break I’m going to try to finish David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree, Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon. I will be busy. (Mason & Dixon will certainly bleed over into much of next semester, although I do have a really long plane flight in my future.)
This one’s probably obvious but definitely worth mentioning. Time spent over break is time to spend with your family. You unwind, spend time together, and do things that you all know you love to do. It’s kind of hard to explain the value of this, but you know the feeling. It’s useful and it’s important, is all. Break is the time to experience it, because it’s one of the things you miss the most at school.
6. Keep in touch.
One of my fondest memories from my first year of school didn’t come until a month after the spring semester was over. A bunch of my friends and I got together and hung out at my roommate David’s house.
We went swimming and had a barbecue and camped out (okay some of us camped out; I got cold and went inside). Keeping close contact with your friends over break is important. Seeing a text from one of them can really brighten your day, so be sure to send some yourself. (Guys. Text me. I know you all read my blog.)