Is there anything more stressful than finals for a college student? You juggle final projects with studying for final exams for what seems like forever, and then one day it’s all over. You’ve already handed in all the projects, and sat all the exams.
For a moment, you’re not even sure what to do with this elusive thing called “free time” that you’re not used to having. The first thing many students do is head straight to bed to catch up on some sleep, and before you know it, you’ve wasted your entire vacation in bed watching TV.
Here are five much better ways to celebrate finals and kick your vacation off the right way.
1. Hang Out with Friends
Good friends can make even the most stressful situations suddenly seem bearable. But during finals, even great friends can be really bad distractions when you’re pressed for time.
So once finals are behind us, often the first bit of fun to come knocking are our friends. Resist the urge to hide under the covers. It’s important to make time for your friends before you split up for the holidays.
The sad reality is that sometimes people don’t come back. Common reasons include family emergencies, financial difficulties, depression and other medical reasons, or a decision to drop out.
2. Play Catch-Up
Another fun aspect of our lives that suffer during finals is our hobbies. Who has time to read fiction, binge-watch TV shows, or rank up in Call of Duty when there are exams to study for? Virtually no one.
Once finals are out of the way, it’s time to catch up guilt-free. Fly through a whole season of the Walking Dead. Finally start working your way through A Song of Ice & Fire. Or test out those video games you’ve had sitting on your shelf since the last time you got a weekend off.
3. Take a Trip
Even without finals, when school is in session finding opportunities to travel is hard. Beyond the occasional weekend trip, there’s just not much you can do without the risk of missing school and skipping classes.
With school out of the way, pack your bags and take a trip. Whether it’s a road trip to your best friend’s place three states over, or a long-awaited trip to Indonesia, make time for exploring.
4. Work Out
During finals, many students fall into bad habits that lead to weight gain. In fact, if we’re being honest with ourselves, this happens all semester.
We eat a lot of junk food, go to sleep, wake up and have more junk food, and console ourselves with the fact that it’s better to eat crap than nothing at all.
Start your break off right, by making time to take care of yourself. While the gym is a great place to get that workout in, there are other great options. You can try hiking, indoor climbing, biking, water sports, running, and skating.
5. Go on a Date
College is the best and worst place to begin relationships. It’s the best because after college it’s not as easy to run into so many people who share common interests and goals, and who are at the same life stage as yourself. It’s a bad time because of time itself; there’s just not a lot of it to go around.
When the end of finals frees up your schedule, making time for your partner is a great way to show them they are a priority in your life. Watering your relationships at this time also helps them weather the time-drought right around the corner when classes start again.
It’s important to celebrate all the small stepping stones that take you one step closer to graduation day. Just keep in mind that celebration doesn’t always mean a night of partying. It’s remembering to have fun, and to make time for the key people in our lives – including ourselves.