For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Oct 24 2016
by Emily Luong

3 Fall Break Expectations And Their Realities

By Emily Luong - Oct 24 2016

My first month and a half as a college student was full of excitement, momentous change and hard work. After surviving all of September, fall break was a much deserved reward that I greatly needed to finally be able to visit home for the first time since August. As the first week of October slowly dragged by, I grew increasingly eager to go back home for the long weekend. As I giddily sat in the passenger seat unable to sit still all throughout the two hour drive home, little did I know that my fall break would not be so much as a frantic quest to accomplish everything under the sun, but simply a time of relaxation and family bonding.

1. Expectation: Hanging out with friends from high school.

Throughout my four years of high school, my friends got me through tough, stressful times and made my high school experience so rewarding. It was no secret why I had hoped to see them again when I came home for break. In my mind, we’d have such an emotional and happy reunion. But once I got home, I realized that not every college and university had fall break the same time as I did and that they were still in school. I have decided to hopefully meet up with friends during winter break when I have more time.

Reality: Hanging out with my extended family.

Although my friends from high school were busy, I had more time to spend my fall break with my extended family. My aunt, uncle and cousins missed me just as much as my immediate family. Surrounded by my family as well as delicious home-cooked food for a relaxing evening, I felt so content and loved.

2. Expectation: Going to shopping malls.

Despite the fact that in college I have more free time, my coursework and my commitment to clubs have kept me very occupied; therefore, I did not have much time to leave campus very often to go to a shopping mall/plaza. Since I finally had days off during break, I expected to stock up on winter clothing and accessories and, most of all, just feel immersed in the "real word" again after being enclosed in a college campus for a month and a half.

Reality: Going grocery shopping with my mother.

As soon as I stepped through the front door of my house, I felt absolutely mentally and physically exhausted and completely unmotivated to do some major damage to my wallet. But Saturday rolled around and I decided to re-establish a tradition that my mother and I had every Saturday to go grocery shopping together. While grocery shopping seems extremely mundane and boring, it was the perfect way to spend some one-on-one time with my mother as well as getting a taste of normalcy again in being in a supermarket.

3. Expectation: Throwing movie marathons in my living room.

Preoccupied with coursework and clubs, there was never a time when I could fully commit myself to watching a full movie and unwind from the day’s activities. Now that I was home and had access to my family’s pretty good collection of movies, I wanted to gather everyone in the living room to watch a film. But it never occurred to me that just because I was on break, it did not mean that my whole family was on break as well. My younger sister had school and both my parents worked. While I was grateful for their efforts to spend time with me, I could not expect them to put their lives on hold for five straight days.

Reality: Binge-watching Netflix in my pajamas.

Since movie nights were out, I decided to have my own mini watching parties in my pajamas throughout the day. My Netflix to-watch list had piled up significantly so fall break was the perfect time to start hacking away at it. Overall, being able to entertain myself without the thoughts of essays, exams and projects clouding my brain was very relaxing.

Based on the sort of things I did over the long weekend, I guess you could say that my Fall Break was pretty "uneventful" and "boring," but I believe it was anything but that. In a society where there exists a considerable amount of pressure for students on break to do exciting and impressive activities, those who do not have such noteworthy experiences are sometimes treated as if they did not have a vacation at all. But a fall break spent lounging around the house in pajamas and eating home cooked meals was just as rewarding and legitimate as a fall break spent going into the city to reunite with high school friends. As long as YOU returned to campus perfectly content, satisfied and rejuvenated for those stressful and daunting midterms that lie in the not so distant future, then you had a great fall break. Yearning for another opportunity to unwind and relax, I absolutely cannot wait for Thanksgiving break, but who’s counting anyways?

Lead Image Credit: Lukasz Szmigiel via Unsplash

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Emily Luong - Smith College

Emily Luong is a first year student at Smith College (class of 2020) and plans to major in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. In high school, Emily was the Arts and Entertainment Editor of the school newspaper, an intern staff writer for the local newspaper, and the captain of the swim team. In her free time, Emily enjoys writing short stories, reading fantasy novels, and binge watching TV shows on Netflix. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @emilyjaieluong

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