Holiday Guide: The unavoidable awkward encounters of Winter Break

Alice Yin, Assistant Campus Editor

Traveling back home after a riveting quarter of all-nighters at the library and scandalous weekends watching Netflix alone can be a stark change of scenery. Winter Break mercilessly throws you into the familiar-but-unfamiliar terrain of high school friends/enemies. And don’t forget the sobering moment of facing your family when they mention topics such as your future. Minimize the damage with this guide to awkward encounters.


Problem: You gained the freshmen fifteen already.

Solution: Wear a cloak everywhere with the hood up, Dementor-style. Cover your face with a ski mask. No one will be able to tell that you gained weight. They won’t even be able to tell who you are.


Problem: Your friends at state schools keep sharing stories about all the parties they had, and now it’s your turn.

Solution: Say that NU’s parties were so wild that you don’t remember any of them. Not a single one. You blacked out before you even set foot outside your dorm, and woke up the next morning by your laptop, which happened to be streaming a season of “Parks and Recreation” for the entire night.


Problem: You realize your friend has turned into a pretentious, bucket hat-wearing, Nietzsche-quoting abomination.

Solution: Every time your friend isn’t paying attention, keep putting another bucket hat on top of the previous one until he  becomes a tower of bucket hats. Your friend will stumble and watch his life flash before his eyes, and will abandon any ironic, nihilist disregard for the metaphysical existence of humanity.


Problem: Your high school friends invited you to a New Year’s Eve party with everyone you can’t stand.

Solution: Get a cardboard cutout of yourself to attend the party instead. People probably won’t notice the difference. No one ever noticed you in high school anyways.


Problem: You dropped pre-med and have yet to tell your parents.

Solution: Good luck paying your own tuition.


Problem: Your rival, who was always president of just one more club than you were and is now attending a lower tier-Ivy League and definitely took her junior year campaign against you for student government way too seriously because face it that stuff doesn’t even matter and you definitely don’t just feel that way because you lost because that would be petty and you’re beyond that now, has just walked into the same Starbucks as you.

Solution: Think of a clever way to acknowledge your rival while simultaneously brushing them off. Arrive at a select few one-liners that will definitely work, then realize it’s your turn to order and that the cashier has been trying to get your attention for the past minute. Panic and run out in embarrassment, hearing the cruel laughter of your rival follow you as the door slams shut. Darn. You’ll get ‘em next time.


Problem: You’re halfway through a morning jog, reeking of sweat and about to pass out. You look up and see your ex, who somehow became hot in the past few months, waving and walking over to you.

Solution: Avoid this situation entirely. Never go outside. Especially never go outside to exercise.


Problem: You failed all your finals.

Solution: Curl up in a ball for the entirety of your last night before you leave for break. Wake up the next morning in a state of shock, board your cab and solemnly gaze out the window and watch your last glimpses of Northwestern’s campus zoom past you. Stroll into the airport, tugging your suitcase behind you and shaking off the last bits of snow from your hair, and ruminate at how one single location can serve as the crossroads of numerous different faces, journeys and stories. Sit in the airplane as it takes off and watch as Chicago shrinks below the growing layers of clouds that separate the heavens from the skyline. Realize that you are just a speck of dust in the world, that life is fleeting and death is the only constant, and accept that the value of your existence is not in your grades, but in your experiences. Finally, arrive home in a peaceful state, log onto CAESAR, have a heart attack over your GPA and begin that transfer application to your local state school.


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Twitter: @alice__yin