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Make the Most of Your Last Holiday as a Student

A girl spreads her arms out in the snow.

There’s something special about getting together with your friends to hang Christmas decorations in your dorm or apartment.

And there’s something special about walking around campus and noticing the holiday lights hung up. But nothing beats knowing you get three weeks off after a rigorous, sleep-deprived semester. For most graduating seniors, this is the last time they’ll be able to enjoy the holiday season in true student fashion. So, if you’re graduating in the spring, how can you make the most of your last three-week Christmas break?

Relish the homecoming

If you attend college away from home, returning home for Christmas break makes you appreciate everything your hometown does for the holiday season. Maybe there’s a certain coffee shop back home that has special seasonal drinks you love. Or maybe there’s a Christmas tree lighting tradition you and your family attend every year. My fellow out-of-towners, enjoy the fact that you get to look forward to these things! Being away from home throughout the school year deepens your appreciation of things that you might’ve thought were “mundane” growing up. 

Prepare for the dreadful question

As graduation approaches, the question “So, how’s school?” blossoms into “What are your plans after graduation?” Some college seniors have already had to reply with the awkward shrug complemented with an “I don’t know yet.” Maybe you’ve even rehearsed the same line over and over again to hash out whenever someone asked the infamous question. Graduating senior, whether you like it or not, the question is coming your way. If you’re the type of person that embraces the conversation, run with it! Talk the person’s ear off. But if you’re already dreading having to answer the question from your relatives during the Christmas and New Year festivities, perhaps consider memorizing a few lines before you head into break. 

Be present

Well-known missionary Jim Elliot once said this — “Wherever you are, be all there.” Whether you’re hanging up the Christmas lights, popping cookies in the oven, or spending time with your family in the living room, be all there. Embrace the season slowly. Refrain from thinking about how stressful your last semester will be or how you still have a dozen things to check off your college bucket list. Just be present for all things — big and small —  and savor the gift of community, traditions and delicious food while celebrating the birth of our Savior. 

Focus on others

It’s so easy to get in a ‘me’ mindset. We can be worried about what people are going to get us for Christmas or if what we’re going to wear for our annual festive social media post is picturesque enough. Although it’s fun to receive gifts and to try out that outfit we’ve been thinking about, we can lose the joy of the season when we’re wrapped up in ourselves. If your household is hosting Christmas this year, consider ways you can help out around the house. Think about bringing some baked goods to a friend or a neighbor. There has to be a reason so many holiday movies are about leaving selfishness behind to help others. When we take the time to put others’ needs before our own, we experience a deep sense of joy that self-fulfillment simply cannot bring.