It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Advent? No. Christmas? That’s not for a while. No, the most wonderful time I speak of is the close of the school semester. No more papers! No more tests! That’s right, as of 3:30 yesterday, after three exams in one day, I am officially free from any academic responsibility until January 12. Let’s just say that I’m as excited as this dog going to the park.
So what will I do with all this time, you ask? You mean after I purge my room of all that has collected over the past weeks (assorted papers, stacks of books, trash, and laundry on the floor) and turn it back into a bedroom? Well, let’s see:
From now until the day after Christmas, the students at Holy Name College are free (within reason) to do what they need to do. In my case, the first thing I need to do is catch up on a few neglected chores e.g. cleaning the bathroom, and sort out some other things in the house. After that, and for the next few days, I’ll spend my time relaxing, exercising, writing, and catching up with friends. It’s been a long term and my brain definitely needs a few days to cool down! The nice thing is that my ministry, teaching English as a second language, will also end for the year tomorrow evening, so there is not much to worry about in that respect either. The house has a few things planned for the end of the year, including a day of recollection this Saturday and a tree decorating party the following Friday, but outside of that, there is very little going on.
For some, this is a time of complete vegetation: curl up on the couch with hot chocolate and a book, watch lots of movies, and enjoy the freedom of no responsibility. This is what I gloried in last Christmas when the first semester served to be much more difficult that I had anticipated. Others use the time for doing all of the fun things they’re unable to do while in school: see the sites, catch a show, and explore the metropolitan area. This has never been my first inclination, but I like to be dragged to things… sometimes. Still others, like myself and one other this year, will be traveling up to Mt. Irenaeus for a week of prayer and reflection at the friars’ retreat house. I cannot tell you how excited I am for the absolute peace and quite of being in the middle of the woods, 35 minutes away from the closest “city” (by which I mean Olean, NY, population 15,000). I have never experienced quiet like I have there. This time of year, I can only hope for not too much snow and clear skies for hiking and star-gazing. Either way, I think it will be a perfect way to end the semester and prepare me for Christmas.
After that, and after the house celebrates Christmas together, it’s vacation time. Come sunrise on December 26th, I imagine there will be a race to the parking lot as everyone rushes home for a week away. I will once again be heading back to North Carolina to spend time with family for a few days, followed by New Year’s in mountains where a group of college friends have rented a house. It should be a fun break from the regular schedule for sure! We return January 3rd for a short regroup, and then everyone in formation, except for the novices in Wisconsin, will meet for a week of lectures and fraternity in Pennsylvania.
All in all, there is a lot of time for relaxing, reflecting, and most important to you, writing! There have been a few topics rattling around in my head the last couple of weeks and I hope to get them out in this time.
With that said, I wanted to try something new during this break: ask the readers. Apparently the host site for this blog has a “poll” feature for readers to share their opinions. So what the heck! Let’s give it a try. Below, you’ll see two very simple questions: 1) What do you want to read? and 2) What has been your favorite post? For the first, I’ve tried to give suggestions, but please feel free to fill in “other” with something more specific; you may pick up to three choices. For the second, simply write the name (or topic) of the post you liked most. I just want to say that I really appreciate all of you who read this blog regularly and would love to hear your honest feedback. If you would like more space, there is always the comment section. Peace to all!