It is so strange to be on campus for the first couple of days after all the students leave for break.  Campus seems very, very quiet and empty.  You see it in the parking lots and the sidewalks and the main buildings where you normally would see students.

I was on the Quad early this morning and it was almost eerily empty.  Sure, there were some staff members coming to work, but clearly not a typical morning.  The Quad grass and the flower beds were full of frost, and the sun was glinting off it, silvery and pretty.  Oddly enough, Zick’s was closed but playing music; they have speakers that pipe out to the Quad.  It was very peppy and upbeat, playing to a crowd of no one.

Your students are all home now, I hope.  My guess is that they are doing a ton of sleeping (probably much later than you might expect) and have brought you a ton of laundry (we refer to the big haul laundry times as ‘climbing Laundry Mountain’).  If you have pets, they are probably overjoyed to see them since we do not allow pets on campus.  You might be amazed at how much they eat now that they have homecooked meals.

Winter break can be a strange time for your Deacs – happy to be home, missing their friends, trying to readjust to relationships with friends from high school/their hometowns, maybe some frustration with having to renegotiate behavior norms – after all, they are completely independent while they are here, and suddenly they are back to the family’s rules.  They may be feeling pressure about their final exam grades (and your reaction to them), or pressure from loved ones/neighbors/friends asking them about whether they have lined up jobs or internships.

Winter break can be a strange time for parents and families too.  If you’re looking for some advice about having your students home for break, here is a good resource from College Parent Central.  Whatever you and your students do, try to make the time together fun, light, and meaningful.  Throw off the illusion of having the perfect Normal Rockwell holiday and just be who you are, and let your students be who they are.


— by Betsy Chapman

Categories: campus life


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