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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for Truth: Winter Break: what to do?

Published: December 7, 2007
Section: Opinions

This week, for my final opinions column of the semester, I decided to reflect on some ideas of what to do during Winter break. So, I’m sure most of you are like me in that you’re ready to collapse and do nothing for a few weeks. Ahh, wishful thinking! Knowing myself, though, I know I won’t be able to sit still for several weeks and do absolutely nothing.

Sure, I fully intend on lounging around for a week or two and do nothing but relax, and of course shop! But after that, I’m probably going to get a little antsy since I’m used to working, as I’m sure you all will too. So, I’ll share a few of my hopes for myself and a few general ideas for what you can do if you’re at a loss for how to spend that bloc of time known as Winter break.

First off, I’m sure all of you are ready to catch up on all that sleep we’ve been missing out on due to all that work we’ve been doing. And some home cooked meals are calling out everyone’s names, too. Personally, I know I’ll be doing a lot of shopping too! But in all seriousness, there are some great things that I intend to do, and that all of us could consider in general.

Alright, so personally, I’d like to become more politically informed. Now, I know a lot of you are, but I’m sure we could all do well with some more political education. And with the election year approaching, what better time to get more involved with politics than now? For many of us, this will be the first time we are able to vote in a presidential election, so let’s take advantage of that honor and make sure we have the knowledge to make an informed decision. Recently, in reading a book entitled Tuned Out: Why Americans under 40 Don’t Follow the News, by David Mindich, I learned more about a subject which I’m sure we’ve all had drilled into our heads before- why young people don’t watch the news. So, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as informed as I should be, but where do we find the time? Well, we need to make the time, because the future of journalism, and our own capacity to control our democracy depends on that time, or so David Mindich believes. And I think he has a point. Why shouldn’t I know more? After all, we are in an amazing situation where we have the power to influence legislation and enact change in our world. So, this Winter break, I’m vowing to become more informed.

Second, volunteerism is a great way to spend your Winter break! With the holiday season upon us, I’m sure we all can’t help but feel a little bit of holiday cheer and goodwill. Ok, enough of the cheesy stuff. But honestly, after listening to former president Bill Clinton speak this past Monday, I’m sure that anyone watching felt even the least bit motivated to do something to benefit the lives of others. There are so many causes out there for us all to become involved in, it’s just a matter of finding what speaks to you. And don’t think it’s too late to become involved with one on campus. There are so many great groups just at Brandeis like Waltham Group and CSO among others. Go to a SEA meeting if saving our environment appeals to you. Attend a meeting of the Innocence Club if freeing wrongly-convicted individuals is calling you. It’s never too late to become involved. And when we return from break, everything will be in full swing again, so you have plenty of time to do some research on the Brandeis website to find the club that interests you, (if your haven’t already become involved in five or more like many Brandeis multitaskers out there.)

Write a book, learn a new skill, try something adventurous. Do something other than sit around and watch TV!

Enough of this. I don’t know about you, but I should probably start studying for finals. And then I can enjoy myself during break. So take or leave my advice, but if you all do one thing during vacation, make sure to have a safe and great time- we all deserve it!