Spring break is more than just a time to relax and take a break from classes. For many college students, spring break represents so much more. Spring break can be a time for developing and solidifying friendships, making lasting memories, and making sure that your college experience measures up to the experiences of your peers. Spring break can also be a time to catch up or get ahead on schoolwork, spend time with family, or work extra hours at a part-time job.

Making spring break plans sometimes causes high stress for college students. Students often feel pulled among many options. In trying to do what they think they “should” do, it is easy for students to lose touch with what they want and need. Many students will go along with a plan because it is suggested to them by family or friends. You can become intentional about how you spend your spring break by considering the following:

1.    First, assess your options. Without judgment, simply allow your mind to wander to different possibilities. For example, you might imagine what it would be like to take a beach vacation with a large group of friends, or what it would be like to take a trip to a different location with fewer people. Alternatively, you may imagine spending a week in your hometown or staying in town.

2.    Notice how you feel when thinking about the different options. Do you notice any physical feelings, such as muscle tension or stomach discomfort? Did you have any worries or negative thoughts about your options?

3.    Allow yourself to notice your beliefs about what spring break “should” be. Don’t judge the beliefs, just write them all out.

4.    Circle the beliefs that have the most impact on your decision or your inability to make a decision.

5.    Think critically about these beliefs and consider talking them out with a trusted family member or friend. Consider how much you want these beliefs to guide your decision making.

6.    Are you stuck between two different options? Consider what you will sacrifice by choosing one option or the other. What will you gain by choosing each option? Is there any other way to “make up for” what you would be missing by choosing the other plan?

7.    Think about how it would feel to see your friends’ spring break pictures on social media if you decide not to go on a vacation. How would you handle negative feelings that come up?

There is no one right decision that is best for every student every year. By thinking critically about your decisions, goals, desires, and current life circumstances you can choose to make the decision that is best for you.