Even though I did not go on any extravagant vacations over Christmas break like some of my glowing Facebook friends did, I had a perfect break. Full of Netflix, oversleeping, and eating home cooked meals, my break was just what I needed-a complete mental recharge. The stress of first semester faded away and all I stressed about was which couch to sprawl out on to watch HGTV. Rough right? I was able to catch up with some hometown friends and it felt like college never happened-as if UVA was just some stretched-out and hazy dream. The days of the week seemed to blur together, for every day felt like a weekend and I didn’t have to worry about classes or dates that assignments were due. As the time to return to school got closer and closer, my bed got cozier and cozier and my mom’s cooking tasted better and better. I dreaded coming back to school because I felt comfortable at home. However, being too comfortable is not a good thing. College is the opposite of comfortable; there are so many challenges to face both academically and socially, and there’s no better way to overcome these challenges than to throw yourself right in the epicenter.

Coming back to school made me want to feel the exact opposite of how I felt at home. I was scared of that lazy couch monster I became over Christmas break and I didn’t want to feel too comfortable because that is not how to succeed in college. I came back to school and instantly started working out, eating healthy, and doing assignments ahead of schedule just like I had done last semester. I have realized that I am a completely different person at school and at home because I have become much more self-motivated. At home, those old feelings of dependency crept back in and affected how much I worked out, ate healthy, and did anything productive. Being back on grounds makes me return to that independent person who is continuing to grow each and every day.

My advice to any first generation college students is to soak up your breaks because your time at home will become fewer and far between. Appreciate the laziness, familiarity, and coziness of your home, but don’t be afraid to let those comforting feelings go when you have to return to school. Who you are in school is a much more productive and motivated person and that part of you is more important than the lazy couch monster you inevitably become at home.