Dostoyevsky was stuck in a jail cell wondering the meaning of life and whether or not we even exist as humans. This resulted in a book which is used as the basis of modern existentialism. While philosophy is often regarded as a form of mental masturbation it is a good way to expand the mind. People often say that “Only boring people say that they are bored.” What about the opposite? Only creative people get bored.
Forced solitude on the other hand can be seen as a form of cruel punishment. Unfortunately it is still in use today. For example in the fine US state of California, there exists units where the inmates are provided a concrete slab as a bed, with no windows, and given an 1.5 hours a day to “exercise” in a 8×6 meter concrete room. Some prisoners remain in this state for over 40 years.
In a way we are being released from our own confinements unto the university. Unless of course you spent your holiday in another country (perhaps a warm one). In that case maybe you still felt a bit philosophical and answered some questions about your own life or maybe you just took some time to forget that time even exists. You shut off your brain and brewed up a smile. In either case, welcome back!