As the SUNY Plattsburgh campus
became progressively muddier (apparently snowfall decided to skip us
completely, due thankfully to global warming) we took strides towards our
lengthy winter vacation.

When searching for fallback
schools, in case we weren’t accepted into our first choice at the local
community college, it was important to rate the plusses and minuses of the
schools on that fallback list. Speaking specifically to SUNY Plattsburgh as a
fallback, one of those perks was the 7 week winter vacation. Though this
appeared an advantage on the surface, we soon came to learn this lengthy break
would ultimately become the harbinger of many a woe.

We packed our cars full of dirty
laundry and half empty bottles of liquor we couldn’t kill the night before. Our
drives varied in time and distance, but that is neither here nor there. Our
goal is simple, make it home and sleep off the semester.

Once awoken from our hibernation by
worried and curious parents we begin the process of organizing get ““ togethers
with the “old crew”. Most likely half of this cast is unable to make the trek
to your parents RV/ your party house, as they are busy serving time or attending
court required AA meetings. But for those who show up its like nothing had changed
since high school, except everything has. You stand awkwardly, swapping stories
and gazing with judgmental eyes at the newly acquired body fat your friends
have distributed about themselves. Ultimately these gatherings get old and
cease to even happen.

The next 3 or so weeks fly by at
half a mile an hour. Each day drags on and most of its time is spent watching
re- runs of NCIS and creating new ways to “get your buzz on” without the
parent’s knowledge. The days are short and the nights long, so you can self-
justify sleeping 14- 18 hours a day.

Prior to your return home you
created a list of winter break goals. Perhaps you planned on cracking open a
book you wanted to read and then immediately close it, realizing that college
had killed any desire of yours to read leisurely. Perhaps you might pick up the
guitar with the intention of learning some riffs in order to score some tail
next semester. Though in the end you’ll only learn to play “smoke on the water”
and then pawn off the guitar on your best friend for twenty bucks and half a
bottle of Bacardi. Maybe you’ll buy a gym membership in order to “get your
swell on”, and then let it expire after making the journey once and walking on
the treadmill the whole time. The point
is that you make goals and never achieve them. This process of loss compounded
upon loss takes roughly a week; though the pitiful cycle has the potential to span
the entirety of the break.

By this time all of your friends (read:
people tolerable enough to drink with) have headed back to college and you, the
SUNY Plattsburgh student are left behind. Occupying the home front, with loneliness
compounding boredom. Sadly, at this point the parents have picked up on your
newly developed alcoholism and hidden all the liquor, making escape
impossible. In response, you begin the
stage of the break in which you “wallow in self pity”. You sit home alone,
while your parents work and your siblings are off to school, arguing with the
cat and regretting your choice in schools. This time serves as a period of “self
reflection” in which you question whether your choice of “expeditionary
studies” as a major will actually land you a viable career in the future and
whether or not the daily consumption of alcohol is actually detrimental to
one’s health. Ultimately you come to no conclusion whatsoever because rational
thought and problem solving were never a part of your SUNY Plattsburgh

So the week has elapsed and you
repack your car, ready to make the welcomed return journey to the North
Country. You have successfully survived winter break, the hardest seven weeks
of your Plattsburgh college experience.