Editorial: the time I failed winter break

Julia Dursztman ‘19

Let me tell you about the time I failed Winter Break. “How can one fail at a school sanctioned holiday break from classes and work?” you might ask. Well, thank you for asking. I will tell you how.

I went into Winter Break ‘17-’18 with some very high expectations for myself. The end of my semester ended with some pretty intense neglect for the basic self-care areas: sleep, exercise, and eating well. I did as we all do, rightfully so, and blamed this on all the exams and papers I had to complete as well as the general reality of college life. College life does not make it even remotely easy to stay or get healthy. Aware of this fact, I decided how I was going to spend my winter break: Working out every single morning, eating lots of veggies and no crap, sleeping 9 hours a day, and meeting a new therapist. All while seeing family and friends, and relaxing. Easy, right? I was determined to return to campus a Changed Woman by spring semester.

My break began with the usual crash and burn of the end of finals week. I decided to give myself a weekend to recuperate, sleep as long as I wanted to, and just veg out. I told myself that after that weekend, I would begin my intense workout, eating, and sleep regimen. Very quickly, a weekend became a week and then two weeks and then three. During those weeks, I went to a lot of doctor’s appointments, saw a couple of friends, and slept a lot.

All the while, I beat myself up for not doing what I was “supposed” to be doing. I worked out maybe twice over break and definitely slept more than 9 hours many days. I ate a lot of healthy yummy food but also a ton of garbage yummy food.

As the end of break neared, I began to feel like I had wasted 5 weeks of my life. My dream of returning to campus at the end of break fit, well-rested, and mentally perfect was starting to fade. I had to face the reality that winter break was not going to be what I thought it would. But why? I wondered.

And that is when I came to my ultimate realization. Life! Just! Doesn’t! Function! On! A! Semester! Schedule! Sure, this seems somewhat common sensical but we forget it constantly.

We beat ourselves up for starting relationships in April with graduating seniors. We get frustrated when we run out of mental steam just three weeks before finals. We self-pity when we don’t get to the gym x number of times a week. I stress the heck out of myself over not having had the perfect, fit, restorative winter break I set out to have. We do this because we forget that our lives don’t and can’t possibly function on a 14-week schedule!! We forget that this is not how normal life works.

I say this mostly for myself, but also for anyone reading: It is OKAY to slump at the end of the semester. It is OKAY to get home and not have the energy, physical or mental, to make up for 4 months’ worth of stress in just one. That doesn’t even make any logistical sense. Why are we expected to do that? Agh. Okay. Anyway, love yourself and take it easy.