Winter break freezes things in college life, in more than the literal way.

I took one winter class online. CSIT 111 – Logic and Object-Oriented Programming. It was my first and most fast-paced class I have ever taken  (“ever,” by the way, is subjective, considering this is my second semester!) but I still have had to visit CCBC to take care of other college-related matters. Needless to say, the campus looked almost barren.

But now, just as spring brings new warmth in the atmosphere, CCBC will be repopulated by the eager and oh-not-so-eager faces of students returning to classes after the break. Some went on vacations. Others relaxed in the comfort of their homes. Others studied and studied until they got an A in that online class they took! (Yeah, I know. But wait, someone has to have done that too!)

So here are my three tips for breaking the ice while avoiding a complete melt down after a restful winter:

1.    Take lots of break

Before your first reaction is “are you kidding me?!” let me explain:

I don’t mean breaks in the sense of just forsaking studies and throwing in the towel. I mean short, well-deserved breaks after long periods of stress. We all deserve these breaks when our mind feels worn out. So take that 30 minute power nap after completing the big class project. Or that 5 minute computer game break (only when the professor is not looking?).

These breaks – which are form of time-outs – may come in short bursts or in any way you like. But keep your eyes on the target at the same time: you are not taking breaks for the sake of the break itself. You are taking them to enhance your productivity and reinfuse the sapped energy.

Being a college student means knowing the balance between work and play. Find your balance and stick to it.

2.    Do what you Love, Love what you do

As the saying goes here in CCBC, “see what you can be at CCBC!” We start here and we go anywhere. CCBC is an unusual college in the sense that it offers hundreds of degrees, certificates, and programs that you can use to transfer to a 4-year college, jump right into the workforce, or partake in the a rewarding career.

Wherever you go from here, you deserve to go there with love. Love for what you do. Love for how you do it. And love for how you will do it. If there is a lack of passion or if you have lost interest in what you are doing, this is a time to re-evaluate. Recently, I attended a MCIS scholarship ceremony where CCBC Catonsville Engineering coordinator, Dr. Taylor Kidd, shared his experiences growing up as a college student and how it is not atypical for a college student to change their major not once, not twice, and not even thrice.

Maybe a professor really hit the mark while teaching a particular course, or maybe something happened in your life that caused you to change your program of study. Whatever the reason, be sure that you are studying at CCBC because you love doing it. Meaningfulness is just as important as the reward of fulfillment. Speak with an academic advisor!

3.    Know that the past passes, and future calls

Yes, winter was lots of fun. Or not. There was some quality time that you got to spend with your friends and family. Maybe you recovered from a relationship. Maybe you explored an amazing place. Whatever happened happened. Now is the time to move on and focus what truly matters.

College is unlike high school, but if there is one area I can draw a perfect parallel in, it is in the shared vision of two educational institutions. Albeit at different levels, both college and high school force you to ruminate over the days you spent. Yes, you were eager to get out of high school. But you sorely missed your teachers and friends. You even wish that you were able to reconnect with some.

So there will come a day: one day you will miss these fields and these buildings. The time you spend here will be forever etched in your memory because this was your second home. Even if it did not feel homely, you attended college for a reason. That reason, whatever it may be, will be memorable. Believe in what you are doing, let go of bygones, and answer the future’s call.

Winter can be fun. But it is recover-able. While you may not get enough sleep now that school is back and studies are in full spring, you know you can do it!

Be like Albert Camus:

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”