How to spend breaks on campus


Jacob Brown ‘26 is planning on majoring in English and History. He is from Texas and loves to knit. You can email Jacob at

The freshman experience is unique in a lot of ways. We don’t really know where we fit in, we are trying to figure out how to do the whole college thing, oh yeah, and we have to live on campus and be without a vehicle. Luckily, come fall-break-time we all get to hop in our parent’s car and drive back home … except some of us come from places literally thousands of miles away. I’m from Texas (if you know me, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention that fact at least once or twice), so going home for essentially a long weekend is not really practical. So, I had the unfortunate honor of spending fall break in the ‘Burg. I really thought I was gonna hate it: being stuck on campus, most of my friends gone, Sadler closed — how was I to manage without the sustenance of Saddy soft serve?

Now I have to make a confession … I loved fall break. I had an incredible time and I honestly feel so rejuvenated. To anyone who is dreading having to spend a break on campus: don’t! Let yourself explore; step out of your comfort zone. Don’t have a clue what to do? I’ll help! I’ve got plenty of suggestions on how to spend a break stuck on campus.

My first suggestion is to take a trip into Colonial Williamsburg. You do not have to be a history buff to enjoy CW. Are you a foodie? Explore all the coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants in the area. I have to recommend that everyone try Blackbird Bakery. They have some of the best pastries and treats I have ever had (you definitely need to try one of their cinnamon buns or bombolonis). Love to shop? Merchant’s Square has some very interesting little shops. My favorite would have to be The Christmas Shop because I have a very unhealthy Christmas obsession. Do you want to learn more about Williamsburg? Go into actual Colonial Williamsburg. Plus, as students of the College of William and Mary, we all get free admission into CW (just go to the ticket booth, present your student ID, and they will get you your pass). CW is so big and there are so many things to see and do, exploring it alone can take up the majority of your day. And if you’re willing to spend a few dollars, I highly encourage you to check out their night program “Cry Witch.” In this interactive show, you are transported back in time and become part of the jury that will decide whether or not Grace Sherwood, who has become known as the “Virginia Witch,” is guilty of witchcraft. Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned witch trial?

My second suggestion is to actually go out and explore what lies beyond the College and Colonial Williamsburg. For those who don’t have a car, don’t be scared to hop on a bus! Not only is it good to change up the scenery a little bit, but it’s also nice to step back into the “outside world” again. Grab a pint of ice cream from Food Lion, enjoy a movie at Regal or spend hours roaming the aisles of Target, resisting the urge to buy everything in sight. I really like going into Goodwill and seeing what things I might find. Though be warned, the Goodwill here in Williamsburg is somehow always packed. I went on the first day of fall break, and I was shocked to find people all over the place and the check-out line extending all the way to the back of the store. Or maybe you could also stop somewhere and get some “actual” food. I tried Sal’s By Victor over the break and was thrilled, not only because it was delicious, but because it was just nice to have something besides the same old dining hall food.

My third suggestion is to get moving! Doing real exercise is definitely an option. Lift some weights, go for a run, whatever floats your boat. But I prefer to take nice, long walks. During breaks, campus is so peaceful, quiet and beautiful. I could spend hours just walking around and taking in the sights. Can’t get behind aimlessly walking around? Put your favorite playlist on shuffle and jam out while you’re up and about; whatever works for you is best for you.

My final suggestion, and I cannot emphasize this enough, is to let yourself just relax. Breaks are a time for us to decompress and detach ourselves from our normal stresses. So make sure you dedicate time to yourself. Sleep an extra hour or two. Revisit that hobby you haven’t done in a while or that project you never finished. Binge watch a new show. Pop some popcorn and have a movie marathon. Go to Swem and just enjoy the silence. Personally, I spent a lot of time over fall break knitting. Usually I only get to knit for an hour when I go to the Knitting Club. It was nice to be able to put on a show and just sit down and knit without having to worry about going to class or doing homework.

Well, I hope at least some of this has been helpful. Staying on campus for a break really can be fun. Just be open to get out there, discover new things and work out what’s best for you. It may seem daunting or boring, but try to have fun flying solo. And all else fails, if you still don’t know what to do, there is always TikTok … and Yik Yak.


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