Colleges and universities across the United States will close their doors in a week or two to allow staff and students a much-needed break for the holidays with families and friends. So, what does this mean to you, the student in the dorms or rented apartments? Well for starters, you’ll need to be sure you have packed everything you’re going to need over the 3-4 week break. Here are some quick tips to get you started on moving out (once you’ve got those pesky finals out of the way, that is).
Where to begin?
Now’s the time to clear out some clutter that’s been driving you nuts for ages. Pack up a box of all the non essentials: summer clothes you don’t wear right now, stuff you haven’t used all fall semester. This will give you extra space for those bulky winter sweaters and jackets. Contact your local second hand store and ask if they take donations for the items that are gently used but not getting much use from you anymore. You’ll be amazed at what you can get rid of!
Have rental books to return? Be sure to return them all in time, so you don’t have to worry about it later. Ship them from school to make sure you have fewer heavy things to lug home.
What clothes to bring home?
No, you don’t need to pack your entire wardrobe to take home for the three-week break, but you will definitely want to bring the essentials. Kelly Keenan, University of Notre Dame student writer for nextgen Journal, offers students packing tips in her December 16, 2011, post “Packing for Winter Break: Less is More.” Keenan suggests that you “think carefully about the weather in your specific locale and pack accordingly.” Sweaters, boots, jackets and a couple of good pants are some essentials. If you’re planning on going to church or an family holiday parties, you may want to bring a dress or nice pants and a shirt home as well. Remember, you probably left a few items at your parents’ house when you moved away to college in the fall so chances are, you won’t need to pack many pajamas or work-out clothes.
Don’t forget, wherever it is that you’ll be staying during winter break will have a place to wash your clothes.
It’s great to bring some light reading home, but don’t expect to have the energy to get ahead on every bit of the reading due for next semester’s courses. Some great, winter break reads:
- If you like memoir and autobiographies: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayedis about the author’s desperate decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State and rescue her own life from ruins.
- If you like humor: America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert covers the topics America needs to get back to the greatest: healthcare, economy and food. This one is sure to give you the break you need from all the serious textbooks you’ve had your nose in lately.
- For the lovers of mystery/suspense: Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan has a female protagonist who will learn that the ultimate seduction is espionage. The setting is 1970s England; a college student is recruited for M15.
However you choose to relax over winter break, make sure you won’t be worrying about items left in your dorm room. Be sure to unplug all electronics, make sure all fish or other pets are well-taken care of, and you’ll enjoy your freedom for a few glorious weeks before the next semester begins!