It’s that time of year. That week that is highly anticipated during the first half of spring semester, and then reminisced about for the rest of it. It is tan lines, sunscreen, and sunburns. It is swim suits, flip-flops, and a Twitter feed full of, “#PanamaCity2013!” or “#Cancun!” It is of course, Spring Break. And what exotic destination have I been transported to for this year’s festivities?

Great Falls, Virginia.

While my peers sip smoothies to the sound of crashing waves, ankle deep in soft, white sand, I find myself back in my hometown. The sounds of waves are replaced by the sounds of cars on nearby roads and instead of sand; we actually got soft, white snow.

Yet, as depressing as this might sound, I’m surprisingly content in this setting. My stay at home has provided a period of pure relaxation to punctuate the fast pace of college life. It’s provided time to sleep, eat home-cooked meals, reflect, and in general, the time and the resources to do those things you’re just not able to when at the University.

As I look into study abroad, internships, and winter and summer sessions, it’s becoming apparent how limited my time at home is. Because of this, the comforts of home seem all the more precious. Whether it’s sleeping until the wee hours of the *cough* afternoon, getting to make requests for dinner, or watching movie after movie on instant-Netflix, these are rare comforts you don’t get to experience anywhere else. Especially as I become more aware that I’m really just visiting the place where I grew up and don’t exactly live there anymore, it makes me that much more determined to soak up time with my family and all the comforts that comes with it as much as possible. Excuse the sappiness.

I have also appreciated being able to occupy myself with activities because I like them, not because I need to do them. This past week I went to an open-mic night at a nearby coffee shop, a small country concert at a club downtown, rock climbed at a park just fifteen minutes away. At school you’re forced to prioritize, meaning those things you’d like to do but don’t have to do often get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list and are never checked off. At home, I’ve had the luxury of not really having a to-do list, and so been able to indulge in whatever whim I may have.

Of course, (nerd alert), there is also the fact that I’ve been able to catch up on schoolwork. I’ve definitely fallen behind in some areas since returning for spring semester and never really had the opportunity to just sit down for however many hours and get “caught up.” My fellow students may know the feeling. While it may sound entirely lame, that this is something I’m excited about. Nothing beats the feeling of being caught up and being able to return to school reorganized and ready to go.

So, if you’re stuck at home like me, or sometime in the future may find yourself facing the prospect of spending a vacation period at home, don’t despair. Even if you can’t bring yourself to treasure those moments at home, you can at least appreciate them. There’s a lot you can do with this experience and it’s one you’ll never quite be able to replicate.

~Victoria Snare

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