Ah, the last week of classes. The culmination of everything you have learned, or were supposed to have learned, during this semester. At least there’s only about two more weeks until freedom, until we can stay inside, curled up in as many pillows and blankets as we can find and enjoy our break, free of worries.

But does the stress really end with the close of the semester?

Maybe I’m just prone to worrying, but going home after becoming accustomed to the lifestyle and routine here can make assimilating back into the comforts of home a bit difficult. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been here longer than I actually have and I forget what it’s even like at home.

It begins to hit you that maybe you haven’t been calling home as much as you should have. You begin to wonder how your family life has changed now that you fly the coop for a majority of the year.

Stuck between a desire for your return home to be something special and something that doesn’t disrupt the status quo, you’re not sure whether to be anxious to go home or if you’d rather just wait.

Then there are the friends that you haven’t seen since summer. Sure, there was Thanksgiving break, but it’s hard to fit everyone in and truly catch up with only four days sprinkled with family feasts and get-togethers.

How have they changed since you’ve last seen them? Perhaps you haven’t Skyped or Facebook chatted as much as you should have. Is the connection still there or are they now spending their time with new groups of people? You now have to juggle your new-found college friends and your old ones from home.

The first “reunion” can be an awkward experience, like some sort of bad band reunion on VH1 where one member is now a meth addict, another’s a sex addict and no one really seems to want to talk.

And once the rush of the holiday season passes by and your head clears, you realize you really only have a little more than a month of “freedom” before it’s time to wade in traffic for a few hours on your way back to campus. Do you remember enough Latin from 101 to do well in 102? What about the table of elements for chemistry?

Then there’s the holidays themselves. It seems kind of hard to get into the holiday spirit when, during the buildup from Thanksgiving to the middle of December, you have one of the most stressful periods of the year. Instead of opening a variety of colorful presents you expect a number of gift cards and you just can’t seem to find the time to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” anymore.

But maybe it’s just the stress talking; maybe it’s been one too many shots of espresso and not enough hot chocolate.

Sure, it may be a rough two weeks of studying for finals and writing papers, and maybe the first night back may be a little awkward than it’s been in the past, but you just have to take it all in stride.

Things will go from good to better when you’re among friends, sipping cocoa and sharing college stories. The holiday season may not be what it once was, but that doesn’t make it any worse. Maybe it’s the first year to finally focus on giving rather than receiving and making the season as special for someone else as it is for you.

So, try not to worry too much these upcoming days and remember to enjoy your well-deserved break.