5 Mavericks share their experiences during Winter Break


Winter Break is known to be a time for the classic activities of drinking hot cocoa, spending time with loved ones, celebrating all types of holidays, and most rewarding, sleeping in.

The time off from classes and the relief from final exams sets in and students have time to pick up shifts at work, take big vacations, or even just fulfill family traditions they otherwise wouldn’t get to experience.

Junior Selena Gonzalez traveled to Okinawa, Japan with her family over Winter Break and enjoyed eating a variety of foods and doing activities like snorkeling.

“Just the thought of being on foreign land was exciting and seeing how different everything was compared to home was a huge culture shock,” Gonzalez said. “I also had to make sure I wasn’t driving on the wrong side of the road. I loved snorkeling, as well as seeing all the ruins and castles that were hundreds or thousands of years old. I always had the greatest views of the jungled land.”

Photo courtesy of Selena Gonzalez

Junior Connor Berg had a more local experience. Berg is a Resident Director on Scott Campus, meaning that he supervises resident assistants and works office shifts in the various Scott residence halls. Berg is from Omaha, so he spent the majority of his time on campus getting work done.

“Clocked in, I worked a little over 115 hours starting the Monday of Winter Break,” Berg said. “I also worked another 45 hours or so covering office shifts and a set of rounds for each of my RAs, as a reward for the holidays. It may sound cheesy, but I did not find it difficult working and spending that much time on campus over break. Rewarding such a great staff is what helped me get through those long days.”

While Berg felt at home on Scott Campus, junior Hannah Shimmel had a spiritual journey to a worship conference called Passion in Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoyed the experience with about 10,000 other young adults and found it to be an extremely memorable experience.

“This gathering was all about worshipping Jesus with other young adults,” Shimmel said. “We were encouraged by leaders from all around the world so that we may share our faith on college campuses, or wherever we may be.”

Photo courtesy of Hannah Shimmel

In addition to locations that also felt like home, junior Zane Jensen embraced the real deal by working on his farm back home. While his parents traveled to Wyoming over New Year’s, Jensen vowed to take care of the land and animals.

“In a word, my experience was cold. I looked after the horses and cows when it dropped below 20 degrees two days in a row. My beard was utterly frozen over, and at times, so were the waterers for the animals. To add to that, my allergy to hay and dust all in all made my New Year’s Eve kind of crappy. But, hey, I said I would do something for my parents, so that’s what I did.”

While many students’ experiences were productive, enchanting and life-changing, some of us– like myself– spent my time with loved ones. My family fulfilled our Christmas tradition with matching pajamas, and the next day, I was able to celebrate my boyfriend’s 21st birthday. A week later, I turned 20, which concluded our week of holidays.

Photo by Kamrin Baker/The Gateway

I always feel that I have a unique Winter Break schedule because most of the important holidays in my life fall in line on one single week during the year.

Whether students galavanted in foreign lands or stuck on the family farm on which they grew up, everyone had one thing in common: a true vacation from higher education.

That being said, dear Mavericks, start Spring Semester off with a bang and enjoy the journey.