Advice for Awkward People

Dear Sarah,

This week will be the first time I've gone home all semester. I've been looking forward to this break for literally months. I absolutely crave the comfort of a homemade meal with my family, the convenience of free laundry that my mom will fold for me, and the respite of three measly days where I don't have anything due. Also worth mentioning, I get to see my dog for the first time since before the semester! I can't tell you how much I've missed all of these small treats that I took for granted over the summer. Being without them for so long, I will not let myself forget to cherish all the best people and things in my life.

It's kind of undeniable that home is better than school, where I'm often hungry, tired, alone, and too busy to make the time for pesky housekeeping like dishes and laundry. I'm excited for Thanksgiving break, but I think what I really, deeply, spiritually desire is winter break.

Three days isn't enough. Plus I still have homework due next Monday, so even though I'm on break, I have to actually be productive. I really need time to unplug and stop thinking for a few days, but Thanksgiving break just isn't long enough. The very thought of climbing on that Pittsburgh-bound Megabus on Sunday makes me want to cry prematurely. What if I just get a head start on winter break and refuse to get on that bus, first day of kindergarten style?

What real harm could it bring?
Thanksgiving Broken

Dear Thanksgiving Broken

Well, it could bring some harm, but it really depends on your priorities. If you want to get a good semester QPA, then missing the last two weeks and all of your finals might not be very effective. But it sounds to me like what you're really after is some good old R&R. A semester at Carnegie Mellon can be extremely stressful, damaging to your self-confidence, and downright physically exhausting.

I'm lucky enough to have a car on campus and live within a reasonable driving distance, so I've gone home for more weekends than I would honestly recommend. Now that I'm a senior, it's not as difficult for me get in the car and come back to Carnegie Melloncholy. But back in freshman year, I kicked and screamed and cried with the best of the kindergarteners. Why would I want to go back when I was perfectly happy on the couch with my dog Twinkle and all the potato chips I could eat? (Thanks, Mommy.)

I could list of tens of reasons not to come back, but the reasons we all have to be here are pretty compelling. First, your parents (or you, or the government, or whoever) are paying for you to be here. They would probably be pretty upset if all of that money they're investing in your future went down the can. And second, the world is beyond crap, and if you even hope to have a prayer of finding a job in the crap, you better have at least a Bachelor's degree. Make good on your parents' investment so you can pay for their nursing home in 30 years.

Right now the two weeks after Thanksgiving may seem unsurvivable. But survival is making it one day at a time. Sleep as many hours as you can and eat all the food you can fit in your stomach while you're home for break, but when you get back (which you will), take the rest of the semester step by step. There's a very bright month-long light at the end of the tunnel.

Take care of yourself, and keep your head up!