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Top 10 ways to settle back into life on Grounds after winter break

Break is refreshing, but it’s time to look ahead towards the next semester

<p>Anna Mason is a Top 10 writer for The Cavalier Daily.</p>

Anna Mason is a Top 10 writer for The Cavalier Daily.

1. Make a new second-semester schedule

After spending months adjusting to one schedule, it’s time to begin adapting to a new one. I recommend Google Calendar or an agenda to help get you situated for second semester — feel free to directly allocate time in your calendar for food, sleep and non-academic interests. Try planning your treks between classes first. Spanish in New Cabell at 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. chemistry in the Chemistry Building may be hectic, but there will be plenty of time to get breakfast after your morning jog in the cold for both courses. Once this is laid out, working meals and study time into your schedule is a must. Lastly, make sure to leave plenty of time to see your friends and go to events. 

2. Ration out your Plus Dollars

Any Plus Dollars that beat the odds and lasted through the end of last semester roll over onto this semester. However, your Plus Dollars will not roll over to next year. Make sure to make a plan and stick to it. Treat yourself to some dumplings, tacos or Starbucks with your lucky leftover Plus Dollars, but don’t go overboard — make sure you can make it to finals week for some stress-relief meals. Don’t worry if you have extra Plus Dollars as second semester draws to an end because there are always groceries you can buy at Croads the last week of classes. 

3. Get ready for the snowball fight 

Hopefully this year we won’t break a window on the Rotunda like last year. As a tradition after the first snowfall, University students gather on the lawn for the biggest snowball fight of the year. Prepare for this the best you can. I personally suggest a big coat, warm boots, gloves and most importantly — hit the gym. There better be students out there taking this very seriously — it’s a tradition, after all. It better snow. 

4. Gear up for basketball season

After last year’s national championship, everyone should be ready for the ensuing basketball season. Now that the football season has come to an end after the Orange Bowl, we can dedicate all of our time to following the Hoos on the court. John Paul Jones Arena will be packed with orange and blue fans, and it’s important that everyone shows their support. Be sure to check your email and make sure you enter the lottery to win tickets when the time window opens. You can also stream the games through U.Va. streaming services — or your roommates’ cable subscription from home. 

5. Stock your fridge

Being home for winter break is an extended period of time to visit the places at home that have food that is near and dear to your heart. While you have the chance, capitalize on leftovers. Pack a cooler to bring back to Grounds and keep it ready in your communal or personal fridge at the University for when you’re not really craving Newcomb or feeling particularly keen on buying food. Harris Teeter is always there for you by a Northline bus stop whenever your fridge is barren. 

6. Try out a new extracurricular

January and February are both all about rush. Interfraternity Council and Intersorority Council recruitment occurs in January and bid days are in January and February. Major student elections offer students an opportunity to become a part of the governing body at the University during second semester as well. Even if you are not interested in these activities, spring semester offers a chance to join clubs you missed in the fall and a new assortment of intramural sports to try. If you are hoping to be more involved in extracurriculars, this next semester offers an abundance of opportunities. 

7. Check in with your advisor

This may sound arbitrary, but checking up with your advisor after the last semester is a must. Whether you are planning your future semesters or wanting to travel abroad, it is a necessity to visit Monroe Hall and talk about your options. This is important for all years — fourth-years need to be sure they can graduate and every other year needs to be on track. Building relationships is what the University experience is all about, and the most important one you can make is with an advisor who will help direct you throughout your four years on Grounds. 

8. Catch up with your friends at dinner on the Corner

Grab dinner or coffee and visit the friends you missed over break. One nice thing about college is being able to meet friends from across the country. Getting to meet new people with different life experiences and background stories is a unique opportunity for college students, and as the University has a very diverse community, that opportunity is heightened. Every person’s winter break story is different and being able to talk and catch up is something people should look forward to this semester. 

9. Strap on your skis and snowboards

Living in close proximity to the mountains gives students an opportunity to have a winter experience they may not otherwise have. Wintergreen is an hour drive away and offers a variety of skiing and snowboarding slopes along with tubing and cozy cabins. A weekend or even a day trip would be a stunning chance to visit the Appalachian Mountains and make some memories. 

10. Plan spring break

The spring semester pans out a little differently than the fall. We do not have reading days as a “fall break,” and we do not have Thanksgiving as a breather between classes and finals.  The spring semester has one break, and it is a week-long breath of fresh air. What you do with your spring break is entirely up to you. Whether you book a trip or come home and relax, planning ahead will get you through to March. Being busy with new classes and new clubs will help the time fly — it will be a quick two and a half months.