Apparently, Christmas vacation isn’t a thing in much of the adult world. My friend graduated from college last year and now works a real job, the kind with retirement accounts and insurance benefits, and she only gets two days off for Christmas.
Am I the only one shocked by this? Am I the only one who feels like this information should have been given to me with the same urgency Dr. Fitts uses when he talks about muscular verbs? I’m graduating this December, and I’m completely disturbed by the fact that last year’s Christmas break may have been my last substantial holiday vacation.
It came and left last year without me appreciating it the way it deserved. I should have soaked in each day, basking in the lack of commitment to outside obligation for almost a month. Instead, I don’t even remember most of it because I spent so much time asleep on my bed or on my couch.
To be clear, I’m not looking to extend my undergrad career just to experience another three weeks of holiday vacation bliss. I’ve been fantasizing about the perks of having a break from school that lasts for the rest of my life (or until I decide on a graduate program). Imagine laying in bed at night without the weight of procrastinated homework, or getting a paycheck that can pay for more than a couple cups of coffee and Taco Bell, or Sundays actually being a part of the weekend instead of a pre-Monday.
It will be incredible! Except that there are many jobs that require work on weekends, and starting any new job requires a learning curve that could include a sort of homework, and in six months a huge part of my paychecks will be eaten up by student loan payments, not to mention all of the other responsibilities and bills and possible loneliness that’s coupled with adulting.
Wait, maybe I do want to stay in school ...
I can honestly say I will miss Union College. I love this place. I love the teachers who care way more for their students than they’re paid to, the deans who live with and love us, the faculty and staff who know us by name and welcome us into their houses, the classmates who turn into best friends, the strangers who say hi to us as we’re walking to the cafe.
And, I’m ready to leave, as I know all my fellow December grads will agree. I’m ready to start a new chapter of life, to learn new things, befriend new people and live in a new place.
But to all of you not graduating soon, take time to be grateful for the fact that your Christmas holiday is so long, because it probably won’t always be. Celebrate the fact that you don’t have to start paying back your student loans in six months and that in January when you come back to school you’ll once again be surrounded by people who are in the same stage of life as you. Send up a thanks that you’ll still be able to use the “poor college student” card to gain sympathy and free food and as an excuse to give cheap Christmas gifts.
To my fellow December grads, send up a thanks for all the good things you’ve experienced here at Union, and don’t forget to include a thanks for last year’s holiday break. Because when December 17th arrives, we will not be on Christmas break. We will simply be done.
Sarah is a senior studying english.