Let the holiday season and the abundance of delicious cuisine begin! It’s Thanksgiving break, college is out for the week, and students are scurrying back home. Say goodbye to schoolwork and the usual dining hall meals and say hello to the family and mom’s homecooked turkey, sweet potatoes, and fruit pies. Being a Southern California native, used to sporting dresses and sandals in the winter but now bundling up in layers of sweaters, scarves, and everything warm in Boston, I longed to return back home and soak up the rays of the sun. I’m very fortunate to be writing this article as I sit in my backyard sipping a cold lemonade on an 80 degree day. However, because Emerson has a high out-of-state and international student percentages, not all students had the advantage to leave, due to finance and traveling concerns.
Where do Emerson students go for the Holidays?
To be honest, Emersonians go where the food is. This sounds a bit comedic, but it’s true. Fresh, homecooked meals that aren’t associated with the dining hall is all a student needs during the break. Many students who live in New England and along the East Coast go back home for break. They reunite with family, stuff their mouths, and enjoy the coziness of their home. My roommate who is from Framingham, MA (30 minutes outside of Boston) is spending the break with her close family and friends. Although I returned back to Cali, there are very few West Coasters traveling, instead, they’re staying with relatives nearby or spending Thanksgiving with roommate(s). Emerson dorms are also open for Thanksgiving, thus some students have that option of staying in 30 degree New England weather.
Prior to college, I was never able to wrap my head around this statement, but now in college, I find it incredibly true. College goes by so fast. It’s already Thanksgiving break, and next week marks the two week countdown for winter break. But instead of one week off, students get one month off! Because Emerson closes during winter break, a large majority of students return home for the holiday season.
What are my plans for winter break? Spend time with my family during Christmas, then travel with my closest friends up to the Northern California. My friends and I have been planning a winter roadtrip for the past few months, similar to the one we did last summer. Because winter break is the second longest (summer being the first), students travel and make the most spontaneous memories as possible. Some go on family trips to Hawaii or the Carribean, others go backpacking up North and enjoy the wildnerness. Either way, winter break is always worthwhile because the semester has ended and no schoolwork is required.
How to Plan Your Breaks?
Are you looking to have a fun and memorable holiday break? Are you unsure of what to do and where to go? Are money or time keeping you from traveling or living up your life? Do you want some fun tips or suggestions on how to spend an unforgettable holiday? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, read below!
1. Consider your budget - OK, maybe you can’t go to Hawaii or ride horses on the beaches in Mexico, but what you can do is be adventorous and discover new activities and places in your home area. If you live along the coast, consider a roadtrip. For Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington folks, you are home to some of the most bucket list worthy and scenic destinations. Consider Big Sur, Santa Cruz, Yosemite, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rainer, and Mount Hood.
Last summer, my three friends and I went on a roadtrip from San Diego to San Francisco on a $400 budget, which was perfect. We camped along the coast in Santa Monica, Big Sur, and Santa Cruz and reserved our campsites months ahead of time, to save money and stress. We went grocery shopping days before leaving, brought a mini stove, cooked our food the entire trip, and split the costs of gas and basic necessities. If you’re a nature person, hiker, or traveler, consider this option for a holiday break. Roadtrips usually range from 3 days to several weeks. Just an idea, but a beautiful and truly rewarding one.
2. Take advantage of your hometown - If a roadtrip isn’t practical for you, that’s OK. You can still have a memorable break while staying home. Chances are, you haven’t been EVERYWHERE or have seen EVERYTHING in your hometown. If you live in a city, explore! Go on Google Maps and type in theatre, comedy, music, cafe, film, art, museum, etc… Research activities to do and jump on them. Discover hidden gems in your backyard, take the train or subway around the city, go to a few concerts or festivals, try new food in Chinatown or Little Italy, and have a curious mindset! Remember, YOU are in control of your break, no one else.
3. Get a unique job - Don’t grown or roll your eyes. Working can be fun, depending on the uniqueness of the work. My best friend recently told me that she’s applying to work on a cruise ship this winter, and my other friends will be studying marine life in Monterey Bay and working as tour guides at Yosemite National Park. First, ask yourself what you love. Do you enjoy painting, writing, hiking, dancing, or cooking? There’s a special job calling your name in every passion. Volunteer at an art museum, become a camp counselor, attend a poetry workshop or journalism program, work at an exotic hotel or music venue, make pies or sweet treats at a french bakery! The options are endless, and you have the power to decide.