Ask a Fifth-Year: How to spend six weeks doing nothing

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,

Winter break is coming up. What do you suggest that I do with my time off?

-Idle Ivan

Well, Idle, let’s take a look at your situation here. You just got done with a 10-week term that has been bookended by a 14-week summer break and an upcoming six-week break.

Unlike every other school on this planet, you will be the only college student who doesn’t have school for the entire month of December. You won’t be able to waste your time with old high school friends, since they’ll be busy with school work or real life — something you won’t experience for the next six weeks.

To pass the time this December, I recommend doing the exact opposite of what you did last term. If you were swamped with class work, take some time off. If your term was a breeze, engage in a little self-improvement. That’s the short answer, and the not-so-funny one. Now, onto the comedy.

For those who want to engage in self-improvement, get a job, you dirty hippie bum. The last time I only had one job for an extended period of time was freshmen year, and that was only until February of that year. Get as many jobs doing whatever you can.

I’ve been a janitor, pizza delivery driver and senior popcorn merchant at a local theater for film experience. Needless to say, you won’t make much money and you won’t get any tangible work experience to put on a resume.

To pad that anemic resume of yours, you could whine your way into an internship. No one will want to have you plodding around their workplace, since six weeks is not nearly enough time to pretend like you’ve learned something.

If you had enough foresight, you could participate in the Career Center’s “Shadow Milwaukee” program this year. You follow around an alumni, pestering them with annoying questions that probably won’t help you get a job in the future, and will probably just annoy that alumni you’re shadowing so much that they’ll refuse to associate with the Career Center in the future.

Oh yes, it also seems like you won’t be doing any actual work that could help your resume. Good luck with that one.

If you’re more lazily inclined, you have two options: grow a beard or play video games. Those who are feeling adventurous could even combine the two, but this is not for the faint of heart. Only those dedicated to a life of solitude surrounded by flickering lights and empty cases of Mountain Dew should embark on this path.

I also recommend a long series of meditations. And by meditations, I mean sleeping in until 1 p.m. and then walking around in your boxers until it’s time to go back to bed. Yell at your parents if they demand that you wear pants. They do not understand that your legs must be liberated to achieve true peace through these meditations.

Or maybe you can do what I usually do and plan to be productive, set up a schedule of accomplishments and deadlines. And then promptly forget all of that after a week since the local Retro Television Channel has an A-Team marathon during the month of December.

Once again, if you have any pressing issues that you want me to dissect sloppily on these hallowed pages, e-mail me at