Column: How to prepare for a stress-free Thanksgiving break

Maddie Zimmerman, Staff Writer

College students across the country are counting down the days until Thanksgiving break.

Days off of school, getting together with friends and family, eating delicious food – it’s a great time to take a mental health break from school and other activities. Professors, sadly, don’t tend to lay off the homework. These are some tips on how you can prepare to ensure a stress-free Thanksgiving break.

My first tip is to get organized. Write out all of your due dates, tests, projects, papers, assignments, etc. You can use an online planner tool like Notion to outline what is due, or you can use a physical planner/calendar.

BlackBoard has a new calendar tool, which allows you to see what is due day-by-day with all of your courses included. This is super helpful to keep track of what is due and when.

I find it easiest to color code things that are due by class. I make a key of all of the different colors and classes in my planner so that, if I ever forget what color means which class, I can see it all in front of me. This also helps your planner look less overwhelming, and you can easily group all of your coursework together. 

My second tip is to work ahead of time.

You don’t want to be scrambling right before you go home for break to complete assignments. You want to be relaxed and ready to head home for the holiday.

This tip is so vital to all of college in general. Take 20-30 minutes a day and do some extra assignments to get them out of the way. They don’t have to be due that day or even the next day, but now you have them out of the way and your future self will be thanking you. Sometimes, if you do them far enough in advance you forget you even did them, and the sigh of relief you have when you see that it was submitted a week ago is priceless.

This also gives you wiggle room if you forgot an assignment you can quickly finish it – you no longer have to do 4 assignments before midnight, you just have to worry about the one you overlooked.

Some professors might give homework over Thanksgiving break, unfortunately. Instead of telling yourself that you will do them later, just do them now. No one wants to take a break from seeing family and friends to finish a discussion board question and response. It’s best to get your assignments done ahead of time and turned in to avoid any additional stress. 

If you’re driving home for Thanksgiving, make sure you are packing a bag before the morning you leave.

I am infamous for doing this – I stay up way too late the night before I am supposed to drive home and then I dread waking up the next morning to do the packing I put off. Always try to pack ahead of time; this way, if you are not a morning person (like me), you can sleep in a few extra minutes because you are already all packed and ready to go. 

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving spent with friends and family. Hopefully everyone is able to finish their assignments early so you can enjoy a mental health break away from college. Eat lots of good food and relax. You deserve it.