Mason Family Flash

Tips for Navigating Winter Break with your Student

Creative Services

Whether your student is entering their first winter break since beginning college, or preparing to start their final semester before graduation, the time off during winter break can be an adjustment for the entire family. Your student is probably feeling a great sense of relief now that final exams have wrapped up, but they may need some down time between semesters.

Determining how your student wants to spend their break can be difficult, so we asked current Mason students to tell us a little more about how they want to spend their break to give parents and families some helpful hints about how your student may be feeling.

What is one thing you want to do over winter break?
Each of the students we spoke with said they want to spend time with their family and relax over winter break. They are feeling tired after finishing final exams and want some down time before committing to a packed schedule of family plans.

“The number one thing I want to do over winter break is spend time with my family while decompressing from the past semester. Especially in my first week or so home, I do not feel like committing to any large plans.”   -current Mason sophomore

What is one thing you want your parents/family to know about how you feel entering winter break?
Students want their families to know they are just finishing a stressful couple weeks, and they may not want to talk about how difficult the final weeks of the semester have been. The biggest misunderstanding that students expressed was their family interpreting their desire to rest as laziness. Students used the word “stress free” most frequently to describe how they want to feel during break.

“I want my parents to understand that for the last couple of weeks prior to entering winter break I have been working hard to study for final exams so as soon as I get home I don’t want to be filling out scholarships or doing a lot of activities. I would rather just relax for the first couple of days of winter break.” – current Mason sophomore

If your parents/families are wondering what you want to do over break, what would you like them to do?
All of the students we spoke with expressed that they just want to be asked what they want to do over break. Instead of over-planning because your student has additional free time, or avoiding planning activities because you are not sure how your student feels, open the lines of communication and discuss your students’ expectations over break.

We hope these tips are helpful as you transition to some additional free time with your student! Communication and understanding is key to enjoying a restful and fun winter break. 

Kristen Wright
Graduate Assistant, Family Programs and Services
Orientation and Family Programs and Services