College. It’s considered by many as the best years of your life, a time where self-exploration meets academic challenges, and the most important dynamic is finding the perfect balance between work and play.

Winter break takes a toll on the best of us; a full month devoid of classes, homework and other obligations but full of fun, play and relaxation. Some travel home and party with their hometown buddies, others stay and party here while working. But after that academic sabbatical, it’s hard to get back into the swing of things and find a renewed balance of work and play.

For some, it’s not the schoolwork that is the problem, but rather reintegrating into the campus community. Being away for so long could leave you feeling out of place; a fish out of water. But fear not, there are ways to rediscover your center.

Here are some ways to get back into the swing of things.

1. Hang Out At The Duck Pond

The centerpoint of campus, this area is a good place to see people, watch people and meet people. It’s a rendezvous point for everybody, where you can catch up with your friends after break.

It’s a venue — as a reporter I’ve been to concerts, demonstrations and seen many of UNM’s clubs meet there for events. You can be exposed to new artists and meet like-minded people, and it’s a good way to orient yourself back into the campus community.

2. Spend Time At CAPS

Our campus tutoring program is a good way to re-orient your mind back into academia so that you don’t dig yourself into a hole with grades. Whether or not you need help with whatever work you have going, it just helps you get your mind in the game. You’re in an environment where everyone else is studying, and that alone helps put you into study mode.

3. Join a Club

UNM has a plethora of different clubs and organizations that focus on everything from campus events to juggling. Spending time and going to club meetings helps you integrate into the University community in a way that creates lifelong friends and creates opportunities. It’s great to volunteer at the events these clubs and organizations put together. Not to mention it’s fun, and involvement always looks good on a résumé.

4. Read the Daily Lobo

Reading the Lobo keeps you informed of what’s happening on campus and in the local community. If you want to find out what’s happening behind the scenes, what’s happening on campus, who won the game or who’s coming to campus, the Daily Lobo keeps you updated on all that and more.

5. Go For Walks

It’s not only good for your body and brain, but gets you out and about to see what’s going on. Whether you take a walk out of boredom or as a study break, going on a walk gets you out in the world. Simply taking a stroll around can put you in some interesting places and help you discover what the campus has to offer.

6. Go To Local Coffee Shops and Cafes

On and around campus there are plenty of locally-owned and operated coffee shops and cafes that are popular with locals and students. There are community hubs that attract all walks of life, and some can be a place to experience free art shows and concerts, and their community boards let you know what’s happening in the area.

Fin Martinez is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @FinMartinez.