A week after Thanksgiving break, the whole student body is wondering why their academic superiors tacked on those last two weeks of classes, not to mention the horrible week and a half of finals, at the end of the fall semester. After attempting to eat our weight in Thanksgiving dinner — blame pre-exam stress — Sunday eventually dawns, and the journey back to campus is inevitable. That drive, train ride or flight back from each student’s respective home is one of the more painful journeys in the academic calendar. The only thing awaiting students back on campus is a pile of unfinished work and unwritten essays. The Tupperware Mom packed you with already half-a-week old food will only comfort you for so long.
After arriving back on our cozy, triangular campus with a few short weeks to go, the student body has a one-track mind: finish papers, turn in assignments, study for exams, and get the hell out of dodge. Every remaining assignment feels like an overwhelming chore. Every future exam stares back at you from the pages of your daily planner, taunting you with the number of study hours required to succeed. Your mantra becomes, “Please can it just be winter break already?”
If only we could fast forward time with a super-strength watch or use Hermione’s time turner — this is the best school to be a Harry Potter fan, after all; doesn’t that mean we get some of the toys they use in the books? But, unfortunately, students are stuck with normal, muggle time.
Plenty of students will rush through these next few weeks. They will put on their blinders, or over-sized headphones, dart straight to Swem and hibernate until the last day of finals — sleeping bags, commandeered study rooms and all — but after finals, that’s it. Another semester just passed you by and another major marker in your collegiate career is gone forever. Right now the four weeks of winter break sit at the forefront of your daydreams, stretching lazily, tempting you with the prospect of spending endless hours sitting on your sofa watching Netflix or doing, well, absolutely nothing. Getting that miraculous gift of unplanned time becomes the only goal, and in a hurry to get there, you fast-forward through the time that’s sitting right in front of you. The four weeks of break will give you time to decompress, to ponder the events of the past semester, academic or otherwise, but you won’t get that time back. Suddenly, it has evaporated just like the whipped cream on the top of your tall mocha from Mews.
Before you bury your head in a pile of books big enough to knock over the strongest Quidditch player, breathe in the crisp morning air that smells faintly of the transition from fall to winter. Stop by the Blue Talon for free hot chocolate, if it ever decides to snow in Williamsburg. Leave your study cubicle to watch fireworks light up the Colonial Williamsburg sky, and definitely take the time to join the clump of undergraduates trying to throw a piece of holly in the fire and earn some good luck for finals. Take a study break for Wawa macaroni and cheese, and end up talking with friends for an hour on the Sunken Garden. There are only so many times when the convenience of location and shared experience will be yours. After this semester, that’s one less. Don’t waste a Williamsburg minute.
Ellie Kaufman is a Confusion Corner columnist and has already lined up ten shows in her Netflix queue for winter break.