Only a few days ago basically, I posted about how it’s now autumn and the leaves are changing colors and the air is getting crisp. Well, here in Chicago, it’s already winter. I’m being dramatic, but only exaggerating slightly. We’ve had our first snow flurries already and when I woke up this morning, the news was telling me it was 29 degrees outside! While I personally love the fall – the memories of shopping for school supplies as a kid, playing soccer with long sleeve shirts under the jersey, heading to football games, and curling up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea while studying for midterms – this unseasonably cooler weather is getting me ready for one of the best two month stretches of the year!

Halloween next week kicks off Holiday Season, and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s a time to spend with family and friends, to reflect on the past year, and to prepare for things to come in 2014. Holiday Season tends to fly by so quickly, but even though you feel like it’s here and gone before you know it, it can certainly be the cause of a lot of stress. There are travels to be arranged (and the long lines, delays, and traffic to put up with), too much time spent in close proximity to family members you only see once a year and maybe for good reason, gifts to buy while trying to maintain your budget, and big meals to prepare that always take longer than you thought they would.

So, with that being said, especially knowing that many of you are in a year-round online school – which means you don’t get a long winter break between terms – there is a lot on your plate these next few months. But guess what! A few of my previous posts can help with that! Check out tips on time management, or even the most recent one about managing stress. Although the holidays can get crazy and move quickly and become stressful, it’s easy to take the tips we’ve discussed about your education and apply those to your holiday planning as well. Especially when you’re adding schoolwork to the mix.

So think ahead and schedule things out as best you can, but also know that when it comes to this time of year, it’s good to relax and go with the flow whenever possible. As I said before, this is the time of year to rejoice in the people in your life, the opportunities you’ve had, the steps you’ve taken to get to where you are now, and the steps you’re currently taking to get further. Be proud of how far you’ve come and where you’re planning on going, and take some time to celebrate you this holiday season!

The Top 5 Online Colleges Blog will be going on hiatus over the holidays – we don’t want to add to your plate either, by giving you so many interesting things to read when you should be studying! But we’ll be back in the new year with more information, tips, and topics pertaining to your online higher education.

Happy holidays everyone!