Coming off a week of relaxation, good food and laundry machines that actually work, the return to Oxford can only mean one thing – we have to be responsible again. A few weeks ago, sitting around on a Sunday meant planning how we were going to spend our week of freedom. Now that we’re back, Sundays mean cramming homework and dreading the weeks ahead.

Ohio doesn’t help with the return from warm weather. The dining halls don’t help coming off of home-cooked meals. Classes don’t help adjusting from a nice sleep schedule. Going into last week, I told myself I would get a head start on my papers and projects, but the sight of a full planner with nothing crossed off is a true moral killer.

The difference between returning from spring break, as opposed to winter or summer breaks, is the simple fact that many of the things we look forward to aren’t there. Going on vacation with your closest friends kills the buzz of excitement around being reunited. Coming back in the middle of the semester gives no promise of syllabus day, and only draws us closer to due dates on group projects and exams. And one week away doesn’t make you miss Oxford as much as a month (or two) does.

These are sad times indeed, but we will prevail. The yearly blues are sure to pass, and there are ways we can usher it out of our lives. For some, this will come in the form of a late-night trek Uptown. For others, getting back on the grind and seeing the payoffs. And for me, noticing the little things, which always helps me appreciate my return.

Getting out of the spring break blues is a fairly easy task, because all it takes is one little thing to turn your day around. Whether the wild cherry Pepsi in the dining halls has just the right amount of carbonation, or the dorm showers finally have steady water pressure, picking out the little things around campus helps drive appreciation for the whole. Instead of focusing on the countless L’s, shifting to focus on the W’s – no matter how small they are – is just the first step to breaking free from the blues.

For those who can’t seem to shake them entirely, a mindset change can brighten the darkest of clouds. The dread of winter has almost passed, and while there are still a few sporadic blobs of snow on the ground, the spring weather will soon be upon us. Even though the weather isn’t the same as the beach, the attitude can still persist.

I call it the “beach mentality,” and it doesn’t revolve around location. It’s the attitude and demeanor we carry throughout the day. It may take some imagination and getting used to, but when you act like you’re on a 24/7 vacation, even the most stressful times aren’t that bad.

When you have loads of homework, all you have to do is act like it’s as simple as reading a book on the beach. When you’re walking to class, imagine you’re strolling along a shoreline. No matter what situation you’re in, if you’re constantly at the beach, it’s never a bad time.

As Snooki once asked, “Where’s the beach?” With the beach mentality, you can take it anywhere.

So, if you’re bogged down with the spring break blues, don’t be afraid. It’s easy to break but requires a little bit of effort. Appreciating the little wins along the way while staying in a constant positive state can turn everything around.

stemmlmf@miamioh.edu

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