The Holidays: A College Student’s Survival Guide

Being a college student is a special time of life wrought with freedom, personal growth and academic enrichment. It is important to take every moment of this phase to set yourself up for success. The holiday season offers more time than any time in the year to focus on our personal lives. Below I’ve included some tips for college students to work on their personal lives during the holiday season.

Only spend time with people who contribute to your life. The holidays are a time of celebrating and relaxation. It is also a time when family and friends are more likely to be off of work due to shortened business hours or end of the year usage of vacation time and sick days. Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving and Christmas parties and various other spontaneous gatherings will abound.

For many holiday season get-togethers people visit with family and friends they have not talked to at any other point in the year. Sometimes it’s because of geographical difference or a lack of commonality in our current stages of life. Many times its because of a personality difference.

Many people have decided years ago that they have nothing in common with the family they have been assigned to. Holiday visits are simply ceremonial in order to create a semblance of family unity while the matriarch or patriarch of the family is still alive.

If you have a group of family members that are not interested in being around each other consider having several family gatherings on the same day. Family members can pick which house they want to spend time at and how much time they want to spend there. In this manner pressure is relieved in the sense of the ceasing of the peer pressure of having to go over one family member’s house and spend time with all of the people you don’t care for.

Also consider having one family gathering every week for two or more weeks in a row and telling the clan in advance of plans to do so. In this manner people can choose whose house they would rather go to and invent an excuse for not making it to the other family gathering.

All of this is done to create a picture of closeness in order to please the family elders while not wasting time missing out on memories with people who actually enjoy your presence. Alos, remember to reach out to family members that you are not close to.

-Don’t spend money on unnecessary items. Is your plate broke? Do you need more plates for decoration or for possible guests at the dinner table? If the answer is no do not spend money on things you do not currently need or will not need in the near future.

This includes vacations near or far. If you are still relying mostly on your parents for spare funds save the money begging for actual emergencies or graduation presents. Wealthy, middle class or poor- your parents could say no to you at any moment. It’s easy to question the life choices of a college student with a part-time job begging for a beach vacation on their parents dime. We don’t want our parents getting irritated with us too early!

-Meeting Potential In-Laws. If you are in a serious dating relationship or engaged to someone it may be time to meet their parents. Are your parents nice people? Is there a jealous mother situation? Each person in the relationship should gauge the correct time to introduce parents into the relationship. Do everything you can to protect the sanity of a loving, healthy relationship. It is hard to find the right person. Do not allow family members to hijack the relationship structure. Slowly invite them in. After inviting them in do not share every secret of the relationship with family.

-Work, Work, Work!!! Many college students have winter vacations built into the college calendar and retail positions or internships at various agencies. If your internship ends find a seasonal retail position. Never stop the flow of money. You never know if a parent will lose their job or laws regarding tuition and fees change and you find yourself needing the extra cash! Another experience also builds your resume.

Have a great Holiday Season!

Ashley Stringfield

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