Whenever I would complain about going to elementary school in the darkest days of winter, my mom would remind me (after practically shoving me out of the car) that Christmastime is the happiest time to be in school. Of course, I didn’t always buy into her philosophy at 8:30 on cold December mornings, but as I’ve progressed through years of academia, I must (somewhat begrudgingly) admit that she was right

Yes, paper snowflake-making marathons and indoor recesses have been replaced by finals, papers and projects, but the stress of college somehow makes Christmas-themed study breaks even more enjoyable than they were in elementary school. As a busy, stressed student, I no longer take the simple pleasures of the season for granted.

Catching bits of Christmas movies on TV, decorating a miniature tree with cheap ornaments or even taking a stroll through Wal-Mart’s holiday section can almost always remedy a bad mood. Entertaining distractions from a student’s workload come aplenty at this time of year, making the weeks leading up to finals more bearable.

Though one could argue that being stuck studying at college for the weeks leading to Christmas makes the season gloomier, the Augustana community’s holiday spirit has actually enhanced my last few Decembers. The festive decorations in each campus building, semester shutdown activities and the music department’s Christmas concerts make being away from home at Christmastime less depressing.

Now, more than ever, being at school during the holiday season is a happy experience.  The workload may be more overwhelming than in our younger years (though long division worksheets and lists of spelling words were pretty tough), but having a million other things to do makes seasonal activities all the more relaxing. Also, powering through the last few weeks of the semester makes the end reward—two weeks of homeworkless, Christmassy bliss—sweeter.

Going to school in December can undoubtedly be dreary at times, but it’s difficult to be too melancholy when we’re constantly surrounded by Christmas paraphernalia. For the remaining days of the semester, I’ll be trying my best to focus on the cheerful atmosphere of campus at Christmastime rather than on the impending late-night study sessions.

School this time of year may be stressful, but at least our study breaks are filled with visions of sugarplums.


September Symens is a junior English and journalism major from Omaha, Neb.