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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

Embrace the holiday spirit

My love for the holiday season stems from my excitement at seeing anything bright and shiny: the Christmas tree, the lights on houses in the neighborhood, the gleam off of the little plastic bows that my dogs try to tear off of presents every year. The holiday season is a time of giving and embracing the good will in the world and that sentiment can’t help but manifest itself in glittering lights and cheery music. In my dorm room, I embrace the holiday spirit by putting up an obnoxious amount of Christmas decorations because, after all, our busy schedules occupy ourselves away from all of December’s holly jolly glory.

For college students, December has another association that stands out in our minds: finals season. Nearly three out of every four students experience some sort of mental health crisis throughout their college career, and this everyday stress that comes with being a full-time student is compounded in December when final projects, exams and papers start popping up on our calendars. Plus, with students’ workloads and schedules becoming immensely heavier this year as the University transitions back to normalcy on-campus, it seems like time’s slipping away this semester, so how could there possibly be any time to enjoy this festive time?

The Christmas season is a time of renewal as we start looking toward a new year — and a new semester, too. Even though we’re all focused on our classes coming to a close, we also need to take some time to destress and appreciate all of the joy and hope in the world around us. There’s a lot going on this December. Trust me, I get it. Still, there are still ways for us to feel the seasonal magic for these next few weeks on-campus before we leave Notre Dame for winter break, so here’s my tips on embracing the holiday spirit:

  1. Watch holiday episodes from your favorite show. Notice how I said “episodes from your favorite show” and not Christmas movies. It can sometimes be hard to commit to taking the time out of our days to plan a movie night, but students often find moments in their days to put on Netflix or watch quick episodes while multitasking with their homework. When you find these moments, take a second to google the holiday episodes from your favorite shows, whether it’s “Forgiveness and Stuff” (1x10) from “Gilmore Girls,” “The One With the Routine” (6x10) from “Friends” or “Dwight Christmas” (9x09) from “The Office.” Streaming services are at your fingertips, so use them!
  2. Listen to Christmas music whenever you can. When I say “whenever” you can, I mean whenever you can. Make a Spotify playlist with your favorite holiday tunes to listen to when you’re walking to class or doing homework. One of the fastest papers I have ever written was a USEM paper freshman year that I banged out in the library on a Friday night while listening to the Christmas iHeartRadio station. That was the night I learned the magical secret of how Christmas music can raise your productivity.
  3. Spend time with your friends! We have less than three weeks on-campus during this fall semester, so take advantage of your best friends being in one place. Take some time to get dinner with your friends, study together or plan a couple of hours where you can just chill together. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is spending time with family and friends and appreciating having those people in my life, so try to find a few minutes of peace with the people you love during the time we have left together.
If you’re feeling stressed about what’s to come as the semester winds down, you’re not alone. In addition to finding comfort in your fellow students, the University Counseling Center and University Health Services are available as resources on-campus to help students get through stressful times. I implore all of you to take advantage of these resources if you need someone to talk to or are concerned about your health during finals.

One of the hardest things to do as a college student is to have the confidence in yourself to blow every single assignment out of the water when the time comes for finals week, but we all have it within ourselves to finish strong. Remember the special nature of the time we’re in now, and embrace the holiday spirit to brighten your final days at school this semester a little bit more.

Go Irish, beat finals and happy holidays!

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.