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Freshman 101: Woes, Foes, and Bows

Freshman+101%3A+Woes%2C+Foes%2C+and+Bows

Going into break can be difficult for many reasons, but the overarching theme is striving to make sure the break, winter, fall, spring, or summer, is as meaningful and fulfilling as possible. Here are a few tips for handling the woes of break work, the foes of emotionally damaging interactions, and gift shopping presents and bows.

Woes: Schoolwork, Personal Space, and the Bad Thoughts

DO

  • Take deep breaths: Remember to breathe and try to enjoy your break, even for just a day. Spend time with the people (or pets) you care about, watch your favorite movie, have a nice meal, whatever taking a break from working means to you. You will feel better rested and more confident once returning to your tasks.
  • Have a plan: Just like during school times, use an agenda or other listing applications to keep track of what you need to do over break and when. If you have final projects to do, papers to write, and family obligations, writing the events out with due dates/event times can make the time frame feel less busy and more manageable. Budget out time to do your school work and study for your exams, but also allot time for purely fun things. After all, It is break time, enjoy it!
  • Know what’s coming for you when you get back: After Thanksgiving Break, there is a short time frame before the Winter Break when exams and the last class periods will take place. Many things will be due, such as projects, finals, and papers, so always know exactly when and where to submit these assignments. Knowing if you need your project to be printed, emailed, or uploaded to a BlackBoard/Canvas Message can mean the difference between meeting or missing the submission deadline. Check with your professors to see who is doing an in-person exam and confirm the times, as well as checking on the due dates and locations to turn in those final projects.

DON’T

  • Seclude yourself: As much as you want some alone time, too much time spent alone can increase the negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions associated with the seasonal depression of the darker months. Spending time with friends, family, and other loved ones is an excellent way to make sure your thoughts stay on the present (and the presents 😊). If spending time with your family is the source of the dark thoughts, try getting together with friends for a holiday event.
  • Overbook yourself: There is a lot that needs to be done, and it all needs to be balanced with what you want to do this holiday season. Pick what is most important to you and prioritize attending those events rather than exhausting yourself trying to make everyone happy. Make a list of what must be done and what you would like to do, rank them in order of importance to yourself and others, then fill in your schedule starting from the non-negotiable to the extraneous celebrations.
  • Wait to the last minute. While this is an overused and tired piece of advice, it especially rings true during the holiday season. Waiting too long to go gift shopping may result in the items being sold out, procrastinating that assignment may mean a late night before a long drive back to campus or to class, and being late booking a trip could mean higher fees and lesser accommodations.

Foes: Family, Jobs, and Self-doubt
DO

  • Communicate with your employer: Remember to let your boss know when you’re leaving and when you will be returning. While this may feel obvious, you do not want to come back to find a mess waiting for you at work! This will also make sure you are not worrying about unfinished work while on your break!
  • Take some time for yourself: No matter how much you love your friends and family, everyone needs alone time to recuperate and process everything that has happened this year. Prioritize your mental health this season and remember to take care of yourself.
  • Be realistic: No family is perfect, but most people want to enjoy their holiday season as much as you do. Family parties may contain fighting, arguing, competition, and stressors, but you have made it through every holiday season to date, often with a story to tell. If you are worried about a holiday party going south, come to the events cautiously optimistic: hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Having a plan can help alleviate the stress of a big gathering of relatives you do not see often, and keep you best prepared for the off chance that something drastic does happen. Try to enjoy yourself where you can but understand that family events will never be completely devoid of drama.

DON’T

  • Engage with people criticizing aspects of yourself you cannot change easily, like your clothing choices, weight, and/or relationship status. This will make your family visits more enjoyable and lessen the stress and self-doubt you feel during this holiday season.
  • Brag: No one really appreciates feeling less than others, especially if it’s done in a way to elevate yourself over the people you are talking to. DO share your positive experiences, successes, and big wins with the people in your life, but remember to let others talk about their own successes too. The holiday parties should not be a competition, and your own mental health should come before trying to make yourself look better than everyone else to gain favor.
  • Let conflicts get to big: Agreeing to disagree, changing the subject, or cracking a few jokes are often the best ways to cool down tensions before things escalate and become out of control or hurtful. It is not your job to police the gathering or anyone’s thoughts or conversations, but if you are in a discussion that is starting to get hurtful, pointed, or aggressive; introducing a new topic, pulling out a game to play, or excusing yourself to join other group can stop the downward cycle early and spare people’s feelings.

Bows: Christmas gifts do’s and don’ts

DO

  • Utilize free gift lists like Giftster or public Amazon lists: this will share direct online links of what you want for Christmas with your friends and family. By sharing the link to your Giftster, you can eliminate both duplicate gifts (Giftster allows people to mark off purchased presents) and ensure people pick gifts you actually want rather than just guessing.
  • Budget properly and ensure you can afford the gifts you want to purchase. There is nothing worse in the holiday season than shopping and then realizing you cannot afford the last few presents on your list. Set aside a certain amount of money and keep gifts within a specific price range to make sure you do not dip into your money for necessities!
  • Say thank you! A little thanks can go a long way, and making your friends, family, and loved ones feel appreciated is a huge part of the holiday season. Send a thank you message if the giver is not there for your celebrations to make sure they feel appreciated and included!

DON’T

  • Stress yourself about the perfect gift for someone. Remember, it’s thought that counts and your friend/loved one is much more likely to appreciate a specially picked-out gift over an expensive present.
  • Wrap an oddly shaped gift when you can use a gift bag or tissue paper! Unless you are an expert in wrapping unusual shapes like circles, hexagons, ovals, or more complex polygons, it will be less of a headache to either package the gift into a rectangular box to wrap or just place it in a gift bag with festive tissue paper.
  • Be afraid to ask someone what they want instead of guessing: Sometimes people know and sometimes they do not, but they can at least point you in the right direction for gift shopping. For those who insist you should know or simply will not tell you, try checking with their family and friends, or see if they have an online wish list.
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About the Contributor
Quinn Arzt, Staff Reporter
Quinn Arzt is a 20-year-old Junior here at Fairmont State University. She is pursuing an Architecture degree while also working toward her History and Political Science minors. Quinn's favorite season is Autumn, and her favorite book is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Quinn is a Residential Assistance (RA) here on campus, and also involved in multiple other organizations like the Honors Association, Fairmont State Catholic Student Union, Falcons with PRIDE, Falcons for Disability Advocacy, and more.
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