Spring break: more a time for stress to build than a time for rest

Contrary to its intended purpose of providing a much-needed rest, I’ve realized spring break is one of the most stressful, disappointing times of the year. There’s a good chance most people will believe I’m crazy for saying this, and I do not blame them for doing so. However, I have my reasons for feeling so negatively about this seemingly wonderful time. One may ask what there is to complain about – it’s a week away from academic responsibilities. It seems like a complete win-win situation, giving students one full week to ruin their carefully-adjusted sleep schedules for those 8:30 a.m. classes.’ Of course, that’s assuming students actually make the effort to attend said classes, and don’t make a regular date with the snooze button. There’s no need to deal with walking into class in freezing cold and walking out of class into a sweaty spring or summer atmosphere. The list of positives goes on. However, for me, the build-up to spring break is so stressful and the break itself so short and still involving so much work, that it’s not as fun as it sounds in theory. Through past and present personal experiences, the trend which tends to occur is a large number of assignments are due the week before spring break. It makes sense; students can finish a lot of their assignments before leaving the banal college life behind for a week and professors can hypothetically spend their week slaving over countless numbers of exams and papers. However, the mere fact I have so many tasks to accomplish in the extremely short time left before classes suspend is making me forget about the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure many can relate with my situation: you want to throw your hands in the air and forget about your assignments, but doing so would set you up for certain failure. Since spring break (as well as fall and Thanksgiving breaks) occurs in the middle of a semester, it’s fairly short, and does not provide a clean break from classes. Instead of a stressful week before break, the other option is for professors to use spring ‘break’ as a chance to work endlessly on assignments due the following week, without having to deal with those pesky classes getting in the way of your constant and diligent work. Unfortunately, this catch-22 is an inherent fact of college life. Either one has a horrid week preceding spring break, or one is faced with many assignments due immediately after break. As a result, it’s possible one may need to spend their entire break preparing for their classes for the second half of the semester. Of course, if you’re like I am, you’ll end up procrastinating until the last possible minute to do that work, but still spend the week worrying about what you’re not doing. Another common issue is many schools differing on when they schedule spring break. Since it’s only one week, if a friend at another school has break another week, it may be difficult to meet up with them since the times off won’t overlap. In comparison, even if summer and winter breaks vary slightly, it’s more likely time off will coincide at some point. So, even if you have a relatively stress-free break, it could be boring if your friends are going through the same stressful motions at school that you were last week. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because the fact I can collapse on my couch Friday night without having to immediately worry about my responsibilities sounds very appealing to me. I’m just frustrated because writing this column is a means to avoid my numerous academic responsibilities. Once I finish writing this, I will not be able to relax, and will instead feel the guilt of not doing other assignments. I’m simply bitter. I hope everyone can survive this week and make it to Friday without wanting to rip out their hair. Everyone should enjoy the short but sweet break, whether you are traveling to a faraway vacation destination, staying at home relaxing (and maybe it’ll be easier to waste time on Facebook at home than it is on campus) or working to get some money for a trip later in the year. We’ve made it halfway through the semester, and hopefully this break will give us the boost to finish the other half.