By: Julie Pike, Editor-in-Chief

Within a couple weeks USM students will be wrapping up their last finals and assignments of the semester. Afterward, I expect to hear a collective sigh of relief from the student body.

For 15 weeks we’ve juggled courses, homework, tests, group projects, work, relationships, social lives, family life and our own inner dealings. Time has come to take a break.

I know I’m not alone in saying that it is a much needed break that we are headed for. Four weeks of no school (at least for most of us), with no worrying about grades, deadlines or tests, will give us a chance to breath and slow down.

Things are crazy and hectic during the semester, so we could all use some time to focus on relaxing and taking time for ourselves.

I for one can’t wait to spend time lounging around the house watching Christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate. Not that I can’t do that during school, but it’s so much better when you don’t have constant assignments in the back of your mind.

Most importantly it will feel nice just to have time to breathe. College can be incredibly overwhelming with everything students have going on, and we often forget to give ourselves a break. We forget to focus on what we need to keep ourselves in a healthy mental state. That’s what the next four weeks are for, catching up on what we’ve been putting off, our own needs.

Sarah Kelly, a staff counselor for USM Health and Counseling noted in her “Working on Wellness” article this week one tip for beating holiday stress is to take a breather. She mentions that spending 15 minutes without distractions can help clear your mind and have a calming effect. Taking time to go for a walk, read a book or listen to music can be helpful as well.

Part of taking care of yourself can be doing things that you enjoy, things you might not have time for during the semester. In this week’s issue our community editor Asha Tompkins compiled a list of 10 things to do over winter break in the area. Check it out on page 13 for some fun activities and events going on.

I’m excited to have time to create gifts for the holidays, of which I’ll be doing a lot of this year to save money. Crafting takes time and once I get into a project, I don’t want to stop, so I have to have time to dedicate for gift-making. On page nine staff writer Alyson Peabody compiled a list of do-it-yourself holiday gift ideas from USM students and staff.

Most of all, I’m excited to have time to do absolutely nothing. Even when I’m home binge watching Netflix I’m continuously on my email or thinking of work and school assignments, so it will be nice to not have anything to stress about for once. Finding time to relax during the semester is almost impossible since I always end up having something I need to do.

I hope that all my fellow students enjoy their winter break and find the time to relax, leave the stress and worries of school behind, at least for a short while. Before you know it we will be back for another 15 weeks, so take this time to prepare yourselves for the chaos to come.


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