Winter Break To-Dos

During a hard fall semester, the one thing on every student's mind is winter break. Winter break is especially sweet for us college students because of the month long pause of homework, tests and dreaded group projects.

Yet just a few days in, it never fails, we all seem to get a little homesick for campus life. School can get boring, but home boredom is sometimes unbearable. Check out these three ways you can make winter break more than just a month-long Netflix binge.

1. Explore the city!

I know it's hard to get yourself out of bed, but waking up for an adventure is much better than waking up for class. Exploring the city gives a refreshing change of scenery. Instead of reading your favorite book at home, hop on a bus to the city library and find a comfy chair. 

I live twenty minutes from Washington D.C. and there's always something to do. Some of my favorite things are:

Open mic night scene from Love Jones (1997).

  • Chilling in the public library. I have always been drawn to Gallery Place not just because of the museums and movie theater, but because of MLK Library. Whether it's to read or write I always find comfort there.
  • Free entertainment. As a college student, my ears always perk up at the word free. Last summer my best friend introduced me to the Millennium Stage's free performances at the Kennedy Center offered every day. Doesn't get much better than that.
  • Finding places to eat. One of my worst habits is spending unnecessary amounts of money on food; especially when I'm out and about in D.C. My friends and I stumble upon new restaurants all the time and just recently I enjoyed food from District Taco and iThai Restaurant & Sushi Bar.

2. Productive Relaxing?

Is there such a thing? Well I think I've found the key to it. This break I really wanted to make sure I did things I couldn't do during the semester. I love storytelling, in every format, so getting into new shows or books keeps me energized and imaginative.

Yes, I'm still binge-watching shows, but at least it's not all day every day! Two shows I started this break were House of Cards and Switched at Birth. Both appeal to very different sides of my personality, calculating and nurturing. I'll keep you updated on my reviews of each show near the end of break.

I started two books near the end of the summer but never got to finish them because of school. The first is one my best friend got me for my birthday, Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King by Edythe Scott Bagley. This book details King's upbringing, devotion to music, romance with MLK and her independent service to the black community.

The second book is Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America by MSNBC television show host Melissa Harris-Perry (she's actual goals). This book delves into the persistent misrepresentations of black women as angry, sexual and weak; forcing them to navigate American life through a virtual crooked room. I can't wait to finish both.

3. Focus on what matters most.

The best thing about coming home is seeing family and childhood friends. Winter break is centered around the holidays meaning you will definitely be catching up with family members you haven't seen all year.

Even though it's nice to get away from people and just focus on yourself (especially for introverts like me) your presence means a lot to your relatives and close friends. Take time out of your break to drive over to your grandparents. Go out to eat with your old teammates. Play Monopoly with your siblings. Watch a movie with your mom.

These little things will go a long way and will provide the best memories to take back with you to school. Stay productive, stay adventurous, and most importantly, stay relaxed. It's winter break!

--- MS. PARKER ---