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While we are entering the second semester on a more negative note than we may have all been hoping for, it’s important to take time to reflect on what’s past while keeping an (at least somewhat) optimistic eye on the future. That’s exactly what The Brock Press staff have done this week.

So without further ado, read on to find out how each member of the team spent their winter break and what some of their hopes, dreams, and plans are for the new year, however up in the air they might be at this point.

Noah Nickel – Editor-in-Chief

Sadly, my winter break did not work out how I had planned. While it got off to a good start, anticipation built throughout the first half of December for Christmas with my family and our vacation, all of that came crashing down on Christmas Eve when my family tested positive for COVID-19. 

From then on, my winter break was very low key, as we spent the next two weeks away from everyone, not able to do much of anything. Luckily none of us experienced severe symptoms. So while it certainly wasn’t the holiday season that any of us had hoped for, it was more restful than we’d originally planned, which was nice in its own way.

With little to occupy myself, I have been eagerly looking forward to the start of the winter semester for a little while now. I’m happy to have a regular working schedule again. I know it may be a bit selfish, but I’m also slightly happy to have classes back online. Despite hating the idea of online classes two years ago, I’ve really learned to love them since the start of the pandemic. 

I know that my situation is not the majority though, and I am still annoyed at the new lockdown measures that were reintroduced over the break (though I’m more numb to it all at this point than anything else). I really do hope we see an end to all of this sometime in the new year, though I’m not exactly holding out hope. 

Abdul Anjum – Business Manager

My winter break went as expected. I spent most of my time playing Ludo with my family. Fortunately, I was also able to get my booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine a bit early. Other than that, I just took a few days to relax and prepare myself for 2022.

I’m looking forward to the year, despite the poor start with the lockdowns and switch back to virtual learning. With Brock shifting to online classes for the month, I am planning to spend some time updating my room’s furniture and do a little bit of reorganisation. I am also committing to finally watching all the Marvel movies over 2022 to catch up to my friends.

All in all, I am hoping that we see the end of the pandemic in 2022 so that I can start to visualise my plans post-graduation.

Holly Morrison – Managing Editor

My winter break was pretty much as expected. My family doesn’t normally travel or do anything too crazy for the holidays. We usually just celebrate Christmas and try to get in some much-needed rest and relaxation for the rest of the week. It was great to be able to get back home and see my family, and on the whole, we had a nice and relaxing winter break. 

I’d like to say that I spent some time preparing for a new semester, but I’d be lying. I ate a good amount of Christmas treats, played all the video games that I bought but never turned on during the first semester, and just generally focused on becoming one with my parents’ couch. I came back to St. Catharines after the new year and spent that time doing… pretty much the same. All in all, it was pretty boring, but a very restful winter break.

Chad Ellis – News Editor

Before the winter break, my main goal was to relax and hopefully get to spend some time with my family, and to some extent I was able to do that. I did end up spending some time with family and relaxing physically, but mentally, I was not that relaxed in the wake of the huge Omicron case surge. Nonetheless, I am extremely thankful that I was able to see my loved ones, and for the most part relax enough to start this semester in a more refreshed and prepared state. 

Now, as we’re at the start of a semester that is once again online (for at least the first month), I don’t feel the same anxiety or worry that I did in the past. I think at this point I am just used to things not being stable and taking any turn possible, so I just do my best within that context. 

In terms of my hopes and dreams, my biggest one is to finish this semester strong academically and mentally, however it looks, and hopefully get through this lockdown and not have to go back into another one. Either way, I’ve learned that the best approach for me is to maintain optimism and that’s exactly what I will do as I push through this semester, however bleak things may seem at this point.

Dhvani Shah – News Editor

This holiday break was a bit of a whirlwind. While I definitely enjoyed having time to unwind, it was really hard to relax knowing that the world was falling apart (again). 

This is my last semester at Brock, so I was disappointed to hear that we were going back to virtual school for the first few weeks. I’ve still got my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to return to campus at some point, but I’m also mentally prepared for another semester studying from home. Wishing everyone the best of luck for the new semester!

Liam Nielsen – Sports & Wellness Editor

I didn’t know what to do with myself during the winter break. It was my first extended period of time off since the spring, and don’t get me wrong it was nice to have no responsibilities, but I also very much missed the day-to-day routine that I’d grown so accustomed to. 

Even though things are looking different than when we left in December, I’m still thrilled to be back in St. Catharines and getting into the swing of things again. This will be my last semester at Brock (if all goes well), and I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately on how quickly the time went by. 

It feels like just yesterday that I was on campus for the very first time to attend Smart Start, and now I feel like I’ve grown into an entirely different person in just three and a half short years. How time flies.

Morgan Vidakovic – Sports & Wellness Editor

For the first time in a long time, I actually had some time off this break. While I luckily did not contract COVID-19, the individual I support as their primary worker tested positive, and so I was required to self-isolate for 10 days.

I had a really tough time at first because I was very angry about not being allowed to work. In the end though, I took advantage of the time off to set up my apartment, get all of my school stuff organised, and spend quality time with my cat. 

It definitely was not my typical routine, but I made it work, played Scrabble with myself and did some Harry Potter puzzles I got for Christmas. In the end, it wasn’t too bad for me.

Alejandro Vasquez Coronado – Arts & Entertainment Editor

My winter break, like so many others, didn’t go as expected. The rise of COVID-19 cases derailed our plans and led us to cancel our trip to New York City. It did however allow me to reach my reading goal for the year and find a few reads to start 2022 with.

As for the coming semester, I’m sad that it has gone back online for the first month as I was getting in the groove of finally going back to in-person classes, but with the current situation it is understandable. I’m going to geek out here and say how excited I am for the classes I’m taking this semester; I feel they will round out my third year pretty well and prepare me for my last year at Brock.

I also feel excited for the winter term with The Brock Press, as there are a lot of promising movies coming out this year that I look forward to reviewing, as well as the inevitable surprise releases that will catch me off guard. 

With the current COVID-19 situation, it is important to try and find the positive (while keeping the rapid tests negative). With that, I wish everyone a safe and successful winter term.

Asenia Lyall – Arts & Entertainment Editor

My winter break went pretty much as planned. With COVID-19 cases rising I planned to spend time in Toronto with my immediate family at my parents’ house and that’s exactly what I did. 

It was not particularly eventful but also not exactly relaxing. While I did get my booster vaccine, I also spent a lot of time worrying about what would become of the final semester of my theatre program with everything shutting down again. 

I’m trying to focus on the positives going into this semester; finding time to read for fun, finishing my degree, and getting to work on the play Red Bike with some truly lovely people are all things I’m looking forward to. I’m trying to just focus on those things for the time being.

Haytham Nawaz – Editor-at-Large

I spent the holidays doing my three sacred Rs: reading, resting and recreation. Of course spending time with my immediate family was a big part of my break too. 

Despite the obstacles Omicron presented in seeing as many people as I would have liked, it felt special being in small groups celebrating Christmas and New Years. I guess all we can do is soldier on at this point, right? 

I told myself that I would take a break from social media as well (which was mostly successful except for my hopeless addiction to Twitter).

It also wouldn’t have been a break for me if I didn’t get some serious steps in; walking is one of those things that I find so underrated because it hits so many important needs of mine in terms of exercise, a break from screens, and as an unequivocal teacher of mental patience.

And ofcourse, to sabotage the mental fortitude afforded to me by my walks, there were my daily two cups of coffee (or more) that effectively derailed any zen effects I gained, bringing me back to my usual anxious state. But coffee is always worth it. 

I’m looking forward to just throwing myself back into work and academics and seeing what the rest of the year has to offer.

Jonah Dayton – Editor-at-Large

I didn’t do too much over the break aside from the usual lounging around and relaxing. Travelling was pretty much off the table, though I did get boosted. 

I’m also just about ready to begin this semester, which will be my final one at Brock. If this semester ends up being entirely online — which is probably going to end up happening, who are we kidding — I think the final tally for me will be four semesters in person (though this past one was masked/restricted) and four online, which is actually a way better ratio than most current undergrads. Depressing. Guess which two classes were my highest marks this past semester… the only two that were in person.

I actually don’t mind the online classes (they are way easier, more flexible, etc.) but it’s staggering how much better I learn and how much more I enjoy the class when I’m physically there as opposed to eating cashews on my couch with my laptop on the ottoman.

Annilea Purser – Copy Editor

Surprisingly, I managed to achieve all of my aforementioned goals over the break; planning my fourth-year thesis, reading, relaxing, and catching up with friends. 

Over the break, relaxation definitely was a top priority for me, especially with rising COVID-19 case numbers and the stress that they have brought along. 

Over the break, my preferred form of relaxation has become hiking. I find that it offers a chance to forget about society and enjoy the beautiful trails that Niagara has to offer, with an obvious bonus being the fact that hiking is still permitted with the new COVD-19 measures. 

While I am looking forward to getting back into the swing-of-things at Brock, I’m also feeling woefully unprepared and am not looking forward to a couple of dry courses that I will be taking this semester (as a part of my degree requirements), that will undoubtedly be made worse with online learning. Wish me luck with those!