The weeks before and after spring break are both an exciting and stressful time for college students and maybe it is not as bad as it all seems. Spring break provides a time for students to recharge and meet up with friends and family that they may not have seen in weeks, but the week leading up to this much-anticipated event can be overwhelming.
College students have likely experienced the feeling of staying on top of assignments and responsibilities for the first couple of weeks of the spring semester, only to be hit with a flood of exams and projects the week before spring break. This often leaves students stressed-out at a time that would otherwise be exciting for them.
Outside of simply professor’s making sure certain units, topics or assessments are finished by a certain time, there is no one answer for why this happens. Spring break falls at about the halfway point of the semester, so it makes sense that the week before spring break would be the perfect time to give midterms or mid-semester projects. Professors might also feel the need to make up for the week lost by giving students extra work before they go on break.
Students do not want to be flooded with a surplus of classwork right before they go on spring break. However, if a professor gives out work before spring break that a student would otherwise have to do right after spring break, this is better from a student perspective.
When spring break begins, the academic rhythm of the semester is interrupted, as students do not have class for nine days in a row. While this might be negative from professors’ perspectives, it is positive for students, as it gives them time to recharge and socially reconnect.
Spring break gives students the chance to make their own mental health and social relationships their priorities without having to worry about homework and exams.
The benefits of relaxing over spring break can last even after break is over. According to researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Harvard University and University of California, just a six-day vacation causes genetic changes in the body. These changes decrease feelings of stress, improve immune system functioning and reduce levels of proteins associated with depression.
In other words, taking a break from school or work is good for everybody! Students should not have to spend their week-long vacation worried about all the exams they are going to have to take when they set foot on campus again. They should be given the chance to ease back into the pattern of the semester, and not be hit with an excessive amount of work before that can happen.
Sacrificing the week leading up to spring break so that they will not have to do as much work once they get back to campus is a compromise students should be willing to make. For those that hate the surplus of work before spring break, just know that it will be worth it afterwards whether break is spent at home or on vacation.
By ALLISON GUY
Featured photo: Megan Campbell image.