Students embrace changes to winter break


As finals week begins and the semester comes to a close, many students are preparing to head home for winter break. Plans for the break vary this year due to the pandemic.

As students enter finals week, many are anticipating the month-long hiatus away from online and in-person classes. 

Winter break provides students with time to relax, unwind and pursue other ventures. From internships to road trips, many students’ winter plans have been impacted by the pandemic, leaving them to come up with new ways to spend their time off.

Peyton Sawyer, a graduating communication major, shared his thoughts on leaving the university during the pandemic.

“It feels strange graduating under the circumstances created by COVID-19,” expressed Sawyer. “A lot of things I would get to experience like football tailgates were gone, which sucks.”

Sawyer explained how the pandemic impacted his search for a new job.

“It’s tough because not many places are able to hire because of the pandemic,” said Sawyer. “I’m just being patient, trying to wait for something to open up, and I hope I can get it. Winter won’t change for me much outside of being done with school. I’ll still be at my current job and make time to visit friends, so that part of my life isn’t affected by COVID-19.”

For Melissa St. Germain, a junior elementary education major, winter break will include less traveling this year.

“This winter break will be different because we will not be traveling or visiting with extended family for Christmas,” shared St. Germain. “We decided to celebrate all the birthdays that have occurred since March and Thanksgiving as a BYO [bring your own] picnic lunch in a socially-distant get together at City Park at the same time.”

Instead, St. Germain has planned to use her time to study for her Praxis exams.

“Praxis exams are subject certification exams for education majors,” explained St. Germain. “They are broken down based on grade concentration and subjects being taught. For example, I am an elementary education major for grades one through five, so I have to take an exam for ELA, social studies, science, math and educational psychology before I am considered eligible for student teaching in the school district.”

St. Germain explained that this process is an investment of both time and money, but her motivation keeps her going.

“They’re up to $150 each time you take one, pass or fail,” stated St. Germain. “To remain consistent, I’m already a motivated student by nature, so I get guilty feelings when I’m not doing something to study and improve upon.”

Although St. Germain will be taking exams throughout her break, she looks forward to moments of relaxation.

“With winter break approaching, I am looking forward to not sitting in front of my laptop for so many hours to attend Zoom classes and work on Moodle assignments,” said St. Germain. “I am looking forward to a random day here and there to catch up on recorded shows from my DVR and titles I’ve been holding on to from Netflix.”

Sawyer shared that while this semester has been different, he was honored to have the memories.

“My time at Southeastern was unlike anything I’d expect,” reflected Sawyer. “I’ve had the honor of being taught by incredible professors as a communication major. The game days, Homecomings and other traditions were special, and I absolutely love them.”