Ten steps to a thrifty spring break

So you say you’re stuck at home this spring break, broke, with nothing to do? How about generating some cheap thrills for yourself and other people?

On the first day of what you consider your break (lucky you if all your finals are over early in the week), sit down and write out a list of your top 10 people in the world. Be they famous, infamous, or known only to yourself, write each a thank you letter. Pretend you can’t afford the stamps until payday, and put them aside until the seventh day of break.

On the second day, call three places you’d like to volunteer and do exactly that. This should fill in at least three days which you would otherwise spend consuming junk food you can’t afford and watching daytime television. It will also make those days considerably brighter for someone else. Even if you have no other discernible skills, stuffing envelopes or reading to someone are easy ways to help out.

On the third day (if you have any time left after scheduling all that volunteering), take a day to reflect on how your spiritual life is going. If you’ve never thought along these lines before, a free trip to the library is definitely in order. Schedule a talk with your spiritual adviser or someone in whom you’re interested in spiritual matters. You might even take time to meet with one of the many spiritual groups who get together on campus, even during spring break.

On the fourth day, assess your physical health. Do you need to update your diet, take a look at your exercise plan, or get some advice? While now may not be the time to get an appointment of any kind (school kids clog up the system in droves during spring break), at least set out a list of what you need to do to get healthier.

On the fifth day, indulge. If this means vegging all day, or sleeping, or taking a long walk to a place you’ve never been, or reading trashy novels, do it. On the sixth day, call two friends you haven’t contacted in a long time, and maybe even make plans to see each other. That is, if you’re not too busy indulging, volunteering and assessing.

On the seventh day, take out those thank you letters and read them. If you need to add anything, do so. By now you probably really can’t afford the stamps until payday, so set them aside again until then. First chance you get, mail them.

On the eighth day, you’ll probably be just about ready to start school again, refreshed, renewed, and out very little money. On this day, get your act together for your classes next term. Work on your filing system, sort through your hard drive and set up folders. If you can, find the syllabi online and get them over to your computer.

On the ninth day, tell yourself all the reasons why you’re going to school, staying in school, and working hard to graduate. If it helps, write these things down and post them somewhere you’ll see on your way out the door the first day of spring term.

If you have any days left, go over some of the things you did in the previous nine days and refine them. On the day before school begins again, you’ll probably have a much more positive attitude about yourself, your goals and your future.