By Kritika Dwivedi, pre-doctoral therapist at Counseling and Psychological Services
While most school breaks are exciting because of the brief respite from classes and homework, spring break tends to instill renewed hope that winter will indeed end. This year as you embark on your long awaited spring break, take into consideration ways of having a fun, memorable, and safe time off from classes. There are a variety of ways to make the most out of your week, whether this might mean relaxing on a beach, traveling out of the country, going home, or staying in Boulder. Here are a few tips and ideas for enjoying your break.
Often students get the message that spring break is about traveling to a partying destination. While this message gets perpetuated through popular media and even among peers and friends, it’s important to know that it’s ok to make a choice to do something different. College is a time to get to know yourself, and it’s also important to learn your limits. Should you choose a spring break that will be around alcohol, make the best choices you can: don’t drink and drive, never leave a drink unattended and limit alcohol use. If you are traveling abroad this year, make sure you check travel advisories and spend time reading up on the places you want to visit and see. It never hurts to know too much about a new destination.
Alternative spring breaks are a great option for those who are interested in volunteer or service oriented trips this year. You can apply for these trips through the Volunteer Resource Center. Trips include helping with flood cleanup in Estes Park, going to a wildlife rehabilitation center in North Carolina, or as a camp counselor for an outdoor science school for youth. If travelling is not your style, think about volunteering at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen for a few of your hours that aren’t spent soaking up the Colorado sunshine.
Many students opt to go home over spring break, as it can be a perfect time to see friends and catch up with family after the holidays. While you’ve been working hard at school, you have unwittingly undergone transitions: from a high school student to a college student, or from a freshman to four years later, a senior. College is a time of transition, and sometimes things can change back home while you’ve been away. Be self-reflective as you head home this year. You’ve changed too, and it may be a good time to share the personal growth with those you love.
Still on campus? No problem
If you find yourself staying in Boulder this spring break, try to get outside and move. Colorado has some of the best hiking trails and camping around. Think about using the week to get organized: wash that stack of dishes and put away the pile of books from midterms. You can also use spring break to get a jump-start on the rest of the semester, look over your syllabus and remind yourself of due dates. Or, just relax and catch up on Netflix and even try reading for fun again.
How to stay safe
Finally, no matter what you choose to do this break, keep these tips in mind. If you’re on a trip with a big group of friends, have a buddy system to keep each other accountable and apprised of your whereabouts. If you’re headed camping or overseas, let people know where you are going, for how long, and when you plan to be back. Do your best to eat healthy and stay active. But most important of all, HAVE FUN and enjoy the feeling of summer break around the corner.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is here before, during, and after Spring Break. A free counseling resource for CU-Boulder students. CAPS offers six individual counseling sessions per academic year and unlimited workshops and groups. We have walk-in hours from M-F, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and we are located at the Center for Community (C4C) at S440, or 303-492-6766.
- Community Health at Wardenburg Health Center. A good resource for student health awareness.
- Volunteer Resource Center. Get more information and sign up for an Alternative Spring Break Trip.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check out this link for further information on traveling and tips for health and well-being on your vacation.