Making SLU Your Home Over Mid-Semester Break
Mid-semester break usually consists of the usual “Hey, you going home?”, “Got any extra room in your car?”, and “Know anyone headed back to New Hampshire?” types of texts. You’ll get your fair share of rejections because the four-day break is also a phenomenal time to go on a quick ski trip, take a jaunt up to Canada, or follow the Outing Club into whatever adventure they dream up. However, there are also plenty of us who stay on campus during this break. It’s a good time to catch up on schoolwork, make some extra money at on-campus jobs, or maybe your team has games. For me, Mid-semester Break is what makes SLU feel like home.
My first year, I was sad to not go home. I am on the basketball team, and we always have practice and games over Mid-semester Break. My res hall was a flurry of activity on Wednesday afternoon, and when I woke up on Thursday, everyone was gone. I quickly found that while there was a decline in the number of people on campus, there was also an increase in the camaraderie between those of us who stayed.
While I am now a junior, I still notice this phenomenon. The first place you see this level of connectedness is at our campus eateries, especially Dana. I have always been partial to this place of bountiful food, but the kindness in the employees hits differently over Mid-semester. Swiping in to get a meal at any time of the year automatically means a big, genuine “good morning!” or some equally enthusiastic greeting from John, Sean, or whoever is at the front. Over Mid-semester Break, this naturally transitions into a short conversation about plans for the day or how our last game went and how the next one might go. All year, but especially during Mid-semester Break, our dining staff treats us like family and makes us feel like we are eating around our own dining table.
Mid-semester Break is a great time to partake in activities that you might not have time to while school is in full swing. This can be anything from going on day ski trips to nearby resorts to taking advantage of the Adirondacks to planning a lunch at Nature’s Storehouse. My team and I enjoy going to the movies, which is both super relaxing AND affordable ($10 for a ticket in Potsdam). We also usually get fro-yo at Chilly Delight in Potsdam after. There is nothing more cathartic than watching a movie and getting ice cream, and usually this duo is followed up with a car-ride home spent blasting classic sing-alongs, laughing the whole way.
One of the best parts about Mid-semester Break is the fact that you get to be on campus without obligation and without other people. Sitting in the student-free Student Center in unusual silence allows me to online shop or read a book or complete all the menial tasks I’ve been pushing off. Throw in a little self-care, like getting a few extra hours of sleep or throwing a facemask on, and being on campus feels like a sweet, sweet retreat. The lack of humans also allows for some introspection. When I’m caught up in the flurry of social life, school, and athletics, I sometimes forget the big picture. Seeing an empty campus reminds me to appreciate how beautiful our vibrant community is. It reminds me not to take for granted the dynamic people who go to school here.
And while I love the ability to interact with the amazing staff at our eateries, being able to take advantage of the beautiful North Country, and getting stuff done, what makes midsemester break feel like home is welcoming everyone back after their breaks. The few of us who stay here are stoking the embers, keeping the hearth warm for our friends who will inevitably return to this irresistible place.