Five Tips for the Perfect Fall Break
By Madyson Fitzgerald
Across the country, college students are packing their bags (or packing snacks in their dorms) for fall break, the first time that many students will be headed back home. For some, fall break goes a lot like this: kids go home, hang out with their family, link up with old friends, put off work until the very last day of break and regret it in the end.
While everyone’s fall break is different, the description above is a pretty accurate account of how many students head home, only to stress themselves out more. Students should know that there’s a better way to spend your days off. Here are five tips for the perfect fall break!
1. Take a Break
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, their study reported that, on average, students spend about 17 hours per week studying for their classes. Being that many colleges have been in session for about eight weeks, that’s approximately 120 hours of studying per student. This does not take into account homework, sports and other extracurriculars that take up time; it makes perfect sense that kids are looking forward to a break!
However it looks to you, take a break; that’s what fall break is there for. Take the time to read a book that’s been on your list of new novels. Head to the movie theater to see an upcoming horror film for Halloween. Most importantly, catch up on sleep; the University of Georgia Health Center reported that college students only get about six hours of sleep on average, much less than the suggested time of eight to nine. Remember to take a break and give yourself time to recover from any sleep loss or stress.
2. The Family Reunion
A huge part of breaks are for reunions with both family and friends. Take a day or two to just talk to your parents and other relatives nearby; they’re all dying to hear about the first few months of college. This is especially true for freshmen; being that this is an important milestone, parents are eager for all the details from move-in to midterms. This may also be the best time to plan for the next break, which is Thanksgiving break for most college students.
After high school graduation, many friendship circles split up as people head their own way, whether that be to a large university across the country, or a community college down the street. Friends deserve a fun reunion, too, and fall is the perfect season for fun activities that interest everyone!
3. Falling for Fall Activities
Every season comes with its activities, and fall is full of them! One of the most notorious fall activities is grabbing a group of friends and heading to the pumpkin patch, a cheap, yet enjoyable experience for the whole group. Just as well, apple picking is a huge tradition for many families living near orchards. From the picking to the carving to the peeling and the eating, pumpkin patches and apple orchards prove to be a good time for everyone.
Fall is also home to Halloween, a favorite among teenagers. Notably, haunted houses are open for business, and this means everyone’s in for a scare! Amusement parks like Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens hold special events for the Halloween season, including entertaining shows, neat monster costumes and, of course, haunted houses. For Halloween, the fun doesn’t stop when you get to college!
4. Oh Wait, There’s Homework
According to the American Psychological Association, around 80 to 95 percent of college students procrastinate on their academic assignments. As much as you may hate to think about it, fall break can occasionally come with fall break homework. This doesn’t mean that fall break is a bust; that just means you need to avoid procrastination and learn to pace your assignments.
For instance, say you have a paper that needs to be submitted the day back from break. Start planning the paper on the first day of break, then revise it throughout the rest, meaning that it should be done by the time you get back on campus. Another example may be for a project; decide what days you want to spend on doing certain aspects of the project, and by the end of fall break, it should be done. The goal is to pace yourself; only work on an assignment for two or three hours, then the rest of the day is free for relaxing or going out with friends.
At some point during fall break, it would be smart to take a minute to reflect on the first few weeks of college. Consider these quick questions to provoke your thinking:
- Now that midterms are over, what are some things that could be improved?
- What bad habits (like procrastination) could I get rid of?
- Are there any clubs or organizations that are still taking members?
- Should I continue meeting new friends, or maybe get rid of some testy ones?
- How are my dining dollars looking? Do I still have a good amount of printing credits?
- What classes should I start considering for next semester?
All of these are some important questions to think about over fall break. Although it may seem early, planning for the end of this semester and, eventually, spring semester is a proactive idea. Fall break is one of the smaller breaks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time while still getting things accomplished.