Winter Break ’15-‘16

Winter break is that time of the year when I get a couple weeks off to relax with family and think about my future. As I sit in my room updating my resume and rechecking CareerLink every other day to search for internships, I also distract myself from the scary future by stalking my friends on Facebook to see how exciting their travels have been. 😛

Although I did not go anywhere during break, I accomplished a lot in regards to planning out my schedule for the next couple semesters, updating my resume and Linkedin, practicing how to write cover letters, and (surprisingly) learning how to cook a couple delicious dishes (including lots and lots of bread) from my mom.

So much bread!

So much bread!

The highlight of my break, however, is definitely my experience as a winter tour guide. Although I am originally from Columbia, MO, my family moved to St. Louis when I came here for college. This makes visiting family so much easier- it’s only a 12 minute drive! Anyways, I volunteered to give a couple tours for visiting high school students and parents over winter break. So far, I have given only five tours these past few weeks. This was quite a different experience for me. When I applied to Wash U, I had attended the June Pre-Medical Institute beforehand, so I already lived in a college dorm, walked around campus multiple times, and explored the city. Although I didn’t go on a tour because living at Wash U allowed me to physically experience the campus as a student, I have always been curious about the perspective of visiting students.

As a tour guide, I finally had the opportunity to explore the campus from the lens of students who are seeing everything for the first time. It has made me realize so many small things that I have never paid as much attention to beforehand. For example, one prospective student commented on the large walking space that students had. In my head, I thought about the millions of times I have walked on the sidewalks to class and never noticed the large space there! Another parent pointed out that Olin Library had a different style of architecture than most of the other buildings on campus. Even though I have been inside Olin many times, I have never stopped to appreciate the different design of the exterior. Let’s be honest, even though break is one of the only times during the school year that I can stay at home, sleep in, and pretend to not be a college student for a few weeks, giving tours over break has helped me realize how much I miss the college life and learn about Wash U’s history and campus as a whole. 🙂

Some of my friends also took this winter break off to travel and explore different countries around the world. My friends Kate and David will be studying next semester in Madrid, Spain. They left the U.S. on New Years Day and arrived safely in Europe.


David and Kate took a lovely selfie in the airport. Kate’s caption was, “Bye America!! See you in (5? 8?) months!” and “traveling to Madrid, Spain”.


My friend David updated his profile picture a couple days ago. This was in Córdoba, Spain. This picture makes me want to just teleport there with him, haha.

Another friend, Will, also spent his vacation exploring Europe. He visited Italy with a couple people he interned with over the summer and took so many beautiful pictures (I asked him to get me some souvenirs too). So far, the pictures from Venice, Milan, Florence, and Rome have been absolutely gorgeous.


Two sides of Milan Arco della pace

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“Walking around Venice”


Evening in Florence Ponte Vecchio


“Here… I would have loved you like you will never have been able to imagine” Giotto’s Campanile

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“Biking through Rome”

Then, my friend Nicole went to Jamaica! She definitely had lots of fun in a warm place over winter break.


My friend Jon travelled to Israel through a program called Birthright via Hillel at Wash U and visited so many cool places. His Facebook profile picture, taken in Migdal, has such a nice view of the scenery.


Lastly, my friend (and suite made) Jonathan visited family in Australia and took some pretty amazing pictures too!


Look at that cute koala!

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Seeing the travels of my friends have definitely made me extremely jealous but also very grateful that they are all so interested in traveling to new places and exploring different cultures. I have grown up internationally and lived overseas for 14 years, so hearing about new stories from friends is definitely a big hobby of mine. My friend Kate also promised me to send more pictures of her study abroad, so I’ll keep everyone posted!

Meanwhile, I will enjoy my last few days of winter break before having to return to Wash U and study hard this next semester. I am definitely looking forward to my classes next semester!


~ Nancy 🙂