This doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of year

Nicole McIsaac, Managing Editor

The song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has never resonated more with me than it does now.

Despite looking forward to the aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, driving past houses with Christmas lights and spending time with my family, the holidays haven’t felt the same since I began college.

Between a packed semester filled with tough classes, internship work and extracurricular activities, the last couple of weeks of classes leading up to what is often called “the season of giving” feel chaotic and dull. Instead of stockings hung by the fire, I have countless sticky notes and reminders about exams and assignments pinned to my whiteboards.

Maybe that sounds cheerful to you, but I can guarantee it doesn’t for a lot of people — including myself.

Once this time of the semester approaches, finals and packed schedules take more of a precedent than Christmas lists, especially for a lot of college students. By the time I actually finish all of my assignments, I am left scrambling for a few days right before Christmas, not taking in the same magic and atmosphere that the holidays used to have.

At Quinnipiac University, all finals are finished by Dec. 17, in 2022 which gives students roughly a weeks’ time to travel home, unpack and head to their local malls to spend money they don’t have on gifts for their loved ones. It’s me, I am the student.

By the point in time that the semester concludes, my brain is fried from memorizing Quizlets and my fingers hurt from writing several 15-page papers.

According to a 2022 study published on, 31% of college students found finals and midterms to be their top source of stress as a student. The homestretch of the semester can completely alter a student’s academic standing, turning a passing grade into a failing one all because finals weigh higher than regular semester assignments.

While some might understand that their worth does not boil down to one singular exam, others worry more about the effects that their grades will have on their future educational opportunities. For example, that one bad exam or course grade could be the determining factor for whether or not a student can maintain their financial scholarship to continue attending a university or college.

Quinnipiac provides warnings and allows students to appeal before losing such scholarships, per the university’s website on the policies. However, that doesn’t mean it still can’t become a reality for a lot of students.

In a recent report from College Board, the average amount of financial aid awarded to a full-time U.S. undergraduate student was $15,330. To localize that even more, Quinnipiac awarded 3,548 need-based scholarships to students in 2022, per a report from College Confidential.

Academics aside, the worries and anxieties of performing well in classes is something that is in the confines of a college campus, quad and clock tower.

Although that might feel a little dramatic for some, the stress of finals and the end of the semester is real. No wonder this doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of year anymore.

When I was younger, the holidays consisted of Christmas-themed movie marathons, attending holiday lightings and scouting out the best tree at Christmas tree stands run by the local fire department. Everything about the season seemed brighter, smells were more potent and smiles were more effortless.

In general, getting older also means losing the magic and ideals of Christmas — such as believing in Santa Claus and making it on the nice list. I miss waking up on Christmas morning and running to the kitchen to see if the man in the red suit ate the cookies and milk I left out for him.

But don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to have the opportunity and privilege to extend my education, which is something a lot of people don’t have access to.

I just wish there was more time to be merry and bright like there used to be. And while finishing off the semester strong is important, I encourage those who feel this way to still incorporate their past-time winter spectacular magic into their jammed packed finals week.

Maybe instead of downing those seven espresso shots over ice in the library, this is the time to order your hot chocolate, and even put a little candy cane in it because why not. Instead of your typical study music, try blasting some Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas is You” in your headphones.

While I can’t fix the dreary feelings of the season and bring back that Christmas magic for us college students, it’s important to still remain kind to ourselves and try to bring our childhood customs back into the lifestyle — even if it’s on a budget.

Although you may be feeling like the Grinch already stole Christmas, take it back. You are in control of just how merry and bright you feel this holiday season.