Study Breaks and Winter Traditions [Inside Giving December 2011]

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With late-night study sessions in Preus Library, endless hours of subject memorization, and final project preparation, even the most earnest of students find themselves needing a break during finals prep and this often results in study breaks that turn into winter traditions at Luther College. (Actually, if you're like me, you sometimes take these breaks instead of studying. But don't tell anyone.) 'Tis the season for studying and for fun and folly!

Melissa Erickson '12, and the cross country team, for example, take breaks to run around Decorah:

Our cross country team does a Christmas Lights run each December through the "Holiday Lights, Magical Nights" lights display at Pulpit Rock campground. This year we even stopped and caroled at our coaches' house on our way back to campus. Many people are surprised to hear that we train outside during January and February, but the cold is just another fun part of the challenge.

Professor of English, Dr. David Faldet '79, recalls a Luther tradition from his time on campus:

Brandt back then was a women's dorm, and each year there was a window painting contest. Lit from the inside the dorm looked, from the outside, like a church with stained glass windows.

And Daniel Cavero '13, takes on a popular, time-honored, tradition:

Often my friends and I will go CAF-tray sledding down Dragon's Drop behind towers. This year, we're kicking it up a notch. We're going to try the Farwell slope.

Something wonderful happens when these study breaks surrounding finals form into traditions that we hang onto: a snowball fight on the Bell Green, sledding down a snow-covered hill, a cup of hot chocolate at Marty's, a caroling romp around the Center for Faith and Life, running several miles in sub-zero weather. No matter what our traditions are, each year we look to these small things for comfort, for warmth, for a chance to cherish friends and for Luther students, that last little push we need to make it through our last final!

I wish you all the best for the holiday season and I hope you have some time for "study breaks" and winter traditions! Merry, merry Christmas!

Aaron Schmaltz '12, Inside Giving intern, is an English major and spent his junior year in Nottingham, England. 

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