Why You’ll Be Glad The Christmas Holidays Are Over
The silly season’s come to an end for another year, and it’s time to face another semester of deadlines, exams and general coursework cramming.
That glib note aside, however, if one peels away the Christmas wrapper, there is actually a fair few reasons to be glad that you’re going back to uni again after a couple of weeks. Whether you’ve already started, or if you’re one of the “lucky” ones whose semesters don’t begin until mid-January, there surely comes a time during the holidays when we all secretly pine for uni again, even if we’ll never admit it when we do actually go back. Here’s a few reasons we should all be glad that the holidays are over.
1. No more Christmas over-time.
Retail workers, do they know it’s Christmas time? Stay at home students in particular will empathise with this one. Earning a lot of extra money over the holidays at your weekend job in retail is, of course, no bad thing and will certainly come in handy. Yet, there comes a point when you realise that two days a week over the Christmas period suddenly sounds like more than enough, and will soon be left yearning for some semblance of normality when uni finally rolls around. The constant stream of generally awful Christmas music (with the exception of Ramones’ Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) is bad enough, but that’s just one ingredient in a particularly heady stew that includes needlessly irate customers; hours that constantly change from week to week, meaning that planning on having any kind of social life for the next few weeks largely comes down to luck; and there seems to always be a crucial lack of staff, leaving you on your own to serve a queue of what looks like 500 people. Worst of all is when you see updates from your friends at uni, most of whom will have got some time off their jobs so that they can, y’know, go home and celebrate with their families, while you drag yourself out of bed for the Boxing Day sales. Uni suddenly won’t look so bad after that.
2. New Year’s Eve is a whole other year away.
This has the potential to sound incredibly cynical and sour-faced, but let’s be honest; no-one really likes New Year’s Eve when they think about it. Except cab drivers. We’re expected to fork out a whole lot extra for what is, when all’s said and done, just another night out. All those flat parties your friends tell you about in the preamble are now suddenly conspicuous by their absence on the night itself as everyone decides to go out, only to discover that the same dives you’ve been going to for months now demand tickets at the door. While you could always stay in, it’s never really that simple, as there’s always a certain stigma around those who choose to avoid the chaos and hassle of New Year’s Eve, and each year we have that nagging sense that maybe this really will be the big night it’s built up to be. The truth is, if everyone loved new year the way you see on Facebook, then we’d know more than just the first few words of Auld Lang Syne.
Particularly for those who live away from home, a couple of weeks with the parents, school friends and home-cooked meals can seem rather hard to leave behind. However, while our parents certainly do their best, we all crave our own independence, and no one really enjoys tip-toeing around the house after a night out so that we don’t wake anyone up. On a more constructive note, studying in a house with the parents plus any siblings you may have is far from the easiest thing in the world at the best of times; over Christmas, it’s nigh on impossible. While seemingly all but the most cruel of faculties have their students sit exams before the holidays, pretty much all of us suddenly come around from Christmas and New Year to suddenly remember that we have a mountain of coursework in the form of essays, reports, and possibly dissertation chapters. And that’s not including the obligatory readings you’ll be required to catch up on. Good luck brushing up on Jean Jacques Russeau or Locke’s Treatises of Government back home, in between stuffing your face at your mother’s behest or catching up with old friends.
4. Catching up with uni friends.
Over the holidays, as we’re catching up with family and old friends, we understandably slip out of contact with the friends we’ve made while at uni. “Liking” the odd photo or status really doesn’t count. After the novelty of catching up with everyone has worn off, many of us are suddenly shocked to find just how boring being back home is (and if that sounds cruel, just remember; your old friends will probably be thinking the exact same thing) and how much we even miss the weirdo in halls who never comes out their room, or the belligerent library staff who seem to make more noise than most students. Seriously, even if it’s the guy in your class that you never speak to, you’ll be so glad to see some familiar faces from your new home again that you’ll probably need to restrain yourself.
5. A chance to get back into some kind of shape.
For a lot of us, exercise and healthy eating kind of take a back seat over Christmas, and for a while it’s great. Then January swings around, and suddenly the appeal of stuffing your face with Quality Street has well and truly vanished when you hear people’s new year’s resolutions about getting fit and active, and knowing it’ll be at least a week or so before you set foot in a gym. After all, why sign up for a gym back home over Christmas when you’re back at uni in a few weeks, even if that last week or so might drag on? Similarly, no-one’s desperate to run around and play a game of football when it feels like it’s eight below outside; leave that to the guys in the Premier League who earn £2.3 million a year. Uni can represent a big chance to shed any unwanted love handles procured over the festive period, whether it’s signing up for or going back to the gym (which is usually far cheaper than ones that are off campus), or deciding to join a team. Frankly, the fitness thing just seems a whole lot easier at uni.
As trite and, dare I say it, sad as it may seem, there are few things more comforting after a couple of weeks of eating, drinking, over-time, occasional studying, and frenzied, last-minute “we must all see each other before we go back” nights out than seeing your timetable for the next semester, signifying the warm return of some kind of structured routine. Y’know, unless it’s an exam timetable. Your weekend job once becomes exactly that; studying (for a while, at least) becomes less manic as you start all new modules; and you no longer feel obligated to be dragged along to every single night out before you and your friends go your separate ways once again. Christmas is great, but all the other stuff up to and including new year can really drag. If nothing else, be glad that your university won’t be playing Slade or Mariah-bloody-Carey over a stereo as you try to go about your day.