Spring break is a time for rest and relaxation, not studying and essay writing
~Mara Tharp, Production Manager & Copy Editor~
When I was younger, movies and television convinced me that college spring break involves a mob of twenty-somethings raving on a beach, leaving only large amounts of trash and people’s lost dignities on the sand.
While I was not looking forward to a week of irresponsible behaviours, I certainly did believe that spring break would be an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation.
Nine days away from campus enables us to take a mental break, to leave our textbooks in our dorms and spend time with family and friends. As I am sure many students have experienced, this is nearly impossible in practice.
My freshman year I realized that many professors utilize spring break as a week to assign papers or other lengthy assignments because of all the “free time” we will have. This happened during the fall semester during Thanksgiving Break as well.
That was especially frustrating because it surrounds a holiday that is meant to be spent with your family (not your textbook and planner).
This past Thanksgiving break I chose not to work on assignments designated to be completed over the three days off because I wanted to focus on time with my family. The immense guilt that I felt for spending time with my family instead of writing a paper ate away at my “break” from school.
When I finally broke down and started working on the assignments, another feeling of guilt emerged. I had just traveled hundreds of miles to come home and be with my family, whom I see sparingly during the school year, and I am still losing time with them to school.
There is the argument that in the “real world” taking vacations often still requires people with jobs to check in with work or possibly handle a few things, but for many college students spring break is an opportunity to go home to their part-time jobs and make money. Additionally, college students are paying for these classes, and as “consumers” they should not have the same expectations put upon them.
My desire for spring break to be assignment-free is not coming from a place of laziness or a lack of responsibility, but for the opportunity to “reset” my brain. This physical separation between myself and campus should let me come back fresh and ready to learn, but due to the growing pile of large assignments I have been gathering the past few weeks, it will be impossible to do so.
Living on campus already blurs the line between “work” and “home” to become unrecognizable, causing me to forget the importance of detaching from coursework or campus activities throughout the semester.
It is important to note that not all professors choose to assign work over breaks. In fact, a professor once reminded my class that breaks should spent relaxing and not being bogged down with homework.
It may be too optimistic to hope that one day everyone will respect and appreciate the purpose of a break, so in the meantime I implore students to let go of the guilt they may feel for not doing assignments over break (or the guilt they feel doing them instead of spending time with family and friends).
Choosing to take care of yourself does not make you a bad student, it means you are self aware and mature. If you come back from break to a pile of assignments that are due on Monday, try to take a page out of Ross Geller from ‘Friends’’ book and remind yourself that “We were on a break!”