The holiday season is upon us. For college students, this typically means a lot of traveling—which can be both expensive and time-consuming, especially if you live abroad or on the opposite side of the country.
For a variety of reasons, students aren't always able to go home for the holidays. So what’s there to do during your month-long winter recess?
There are, of course, other students like you who will be hanging around campus. If not friends, then a great way to get in touch with new people is to reach out through one of your school’s social media platforms, such as a class Facebook page.
Use your stay on campus as an excuse to meet new people. Ask if there’s anyone who’d like to grab dinner in the dining hall or see a movie. If there are people in your residential hall or on your floor, maybe you could even organize a secret-Santa gift exchange, or some other communal holiday celebration. This can be a great opportunity to forge new friendships with people that you otherwise wouldn't have had to opportunity to meet.
If money is tight, winter break is also a good time to pick up a job (or some extra shifts at your current job). Understandably, not many places are going to want to hire someone for just three or four weeks, but there are bound to be places on campus that are losing their student workers, or if you go to school in a college town, employers who understand and cater to the student time frame. Your school likely has an office that provides information and guidance on looking for temporary jobs.
You could also use this time as an opportunity to get ahead (or catch up!) in your studies by taking an extra class. Your school might have a winter intersession, and if it not, there are always schools in the area or even community colleges that offer dozens of online classes. Winter intersession classes are usually only 2–4 weeks long—perfect if you’re looking to keep busy this break.
You can also keep busy simply by trying something you haven’t done before. Mix it up—go to the campus gym, try a new café in town, or take a day trip to a part of the state you haven’t been before.
Lastly, if any of your friends do live nearby, perhaps you can make arrangements to stay with them, even just for a few days. I know of so many people who offer to take friends and roommates home over the holidays. It’s a great way to experience new traditions, especially if you come from different backgrounds.
The most important thing about staying behind during break is to remember that it’s common for students and that you’re not going to be alone. Hopefully these tips inspire you to do something different - but fun and exciting - this break!