With Christmas a week away, it’s time to blast the holiday jingles we all have been secretly listening to for the past month! During the past few weeks, as University of Scranton students “Dec’d the Halls” (of their dorms) with Christmas decorations, maintenance dec’d the Christmas tree on campus with twinkling lights, ready for the tree-lighting ceremony that takes place every year.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. It gives each of us time to reflect on the year as it comes to an end, all while spending time with the people we love and care about. This past year has been filled with so many incredible experiences and opportunities. I have met some incredible people, strengthened both old and new friendships, and had a chance to see a corner of the world that changed my perspective on life forever.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t be on campus this year to enjoy all of the holiday festivities Scranton has to offer, as I was studying abroad all semester. BUT, even though I am home now, and am not with my study abroad friends, we still found a way to celebrate Christmas, Cape Town style!
So here is the Christmas card we made as a program, from my K-House Cape Town family to yours!
They even put of a Christmas tree down by the Waterfront!
Last week was finals week at Scranton. Something else I have learned, particularly since being abroad, is that stress around finals time is not inevitable. Living in Cape Town taught me that there are more important things in life than simply “getting the perfect grade.” Sure, scoring well on exams is important, but looking back on college, or any experience for that matter, you will remember the people you spend your time with, the work you did, and the fun you had. So work hard, study hard, but don’t forget to cherish your last few weeks with your Scranton fam.
Don’t miss out on the tree lighting ceremony because you are stressing about a final project. Don’t leave your Secret Santa gift exchange with your friends early because you want to get ahead on making your study guide. Don’t spend every night in the library when you could be coming back to your dorm and spending that time with your friends. Take study breaks. Grab late night with a friend. Go decorate a gingerbread house at the Christmas Carnival. Budget your time. Study during the day and spend quality time with your best buds at night.
Cape Town taught me to cherish every moment I have with each person I meet. Looking back on my study abroad and reflect on my year as a whole, I remember those late night conversations with my friends. I remember the random study breaks, blasting music with my Cape Town housemates and dancing on the kitchen table as we pulled all-nighters to finish our papers, taking multiple coffee breaks at Cocoa Cha Chi where we would end up talking for hours, going to the beach and trying to surf (as if that is less exhausting than studying!). What I remember are not the times that I was stressed over work, but the times that I fostered my human relationships with others – with my students, housemates, and local friends. I remember doing things I am passionate about, taking risks, bungee jumping off bridges, coming face to face with a Lion on safari, hiking, finding random adventures. What you learn inside of the classroom is important – I had better think so, since I am going to be a teacher one day! But what you learn from people, from experiences, and from nature is a gift that resonates with you for the rest of your life.
Happy holidays, everyone! Until next semester!