Making the Most of School Breaks

Tips from our Associate Dean of Students
February 24, 2023

Your student has made it halfway through spring semester, which means ... Spring Break has arrived! Spring Break is a great time for your student to find a balance of rest and relaxation, along with prepping for the rest of the semester.

Associate Dean of Students Jacqueline Bonneville
Associate Dean of Students Jacqueline Bonneville

Our Associate Dean of Students, Jacqueline Bonneville, has been working in this field for 28 years. She spends much of her time working directly with families and supporters to best help their students.

“I am also a mom to a third-year college student, which has been a fun dynamic after doing this work for so long,” she said. “It has only increased my empathy for all of us, especially the past 3 years.”

If your student is coming home over break, Jacqueline offers some things to consider on how to make the most of that time. 

  • Your student might be more interested in spending time with their friends. Don’t worry, they still love you. They'll likely talk about new friends. Work hard to remember names and details. Ask to see pictures and learn more about these important people.
  • Your student might have a different sleeping and eating schedule than you’re used to and may struggle to get back on your schedule.
  • Although there are no classes over breaks, your student can still make progress in their studies at home. Ask them about what they are learning.
  • Your student may be anxious to get back to campus. This is common as they begin to feel like they have two homes.
  • Your student may have gained or lost weight and may be self-conscious about it. You don’t have to say anything.
  • Make their favorite meal. It will be a great treat for them while they are home.
  • Your student may be exploring or expressing new identities or viewpoints. This is a normal and an important piece of their development. Love them up and engage them in issues and ideas they wish to explore and discuss.
  • Ask what kind of self-care routines they are engaging in. Your student's mental health may benefit from journaling over break, getting outside and enjoying some sunshine, or trying a new meditation app on their phone.


Students walking in the snow

Some students let their families know they are struggling academically. If so, encourage them to reach out to their faculty to see what can be done. Help them look up resources and support online. Be their best advocate by helping them find resources and let them be the ones to reach out. Although this news is often difficult to hear, it is good to understand options and remind them the final day to withdraw from the semester is Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

UW-Stout has a variety of offices and support services to assist students depending on their individual needs and situation. Our Students & Families site is a great place to start.

Lastly, did your student forget to pack anything after Winter Break, or are there things they may need in the upcoming spring and summer months? Or, maybe you're feeling creative and already have some items ready to go in a spring care package.

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