The spring breakdowns

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

Spring break is a cruel flirt. The ultimate playboy. The break that gives students the smallest, most delectable taste of freedom, then immediately rips it away. 

Most people think of spring break with fondness and eagerness.

Being the only real and substantial holiday of spring semester, students could not live without it. For instance, in the 2020-2021 school year, Tech did not give students a week of spring break. Instead, students were given one Tuesday and one Wednesday on two different weeks, with events and free food to encourage the tired student body. This resulted in people continuing to do work during the two holidays, as well as excessive burnout and diminished mental health among students. 

The necessity of spring break is indisputable, as it contributes to mental rest and allows students to relax, spend time with family, and travel. However, what cost do students have to pay in order to enjoy this school-free week of calm?

Some students do not even truly get to enjoy their breaks. Often, people use this break to catch up on work or get ahead. Those struggling with the content in their classes sometimes have no choice but to dedicate their breaks to tutoring or thorough review of lectures. Of course, this does not make for a restful, relaxing spring break. These students are not allowed the same break as some of their peers.

Other students are unable to go home for the break. Whether that be due to monetary, familial, or other reasons, these students are confined to their apartments, suites, and dormitories for the expanse of spring break. 

With most students going home for the holidays, the buildings and dining halls closed, and with the bus system down, being on campus is not only a hassle, but lonely. While some individuals may enjoy this solitude, others have no choice but to brave the break on their own. 

The student populace places immense value on spring break. 

It must provide a means for catching up on sleep, traveling, vacationing, studying, relaxing, a break from school, family time, and sometimes more. This is a lot of pressure for a five-day vacation. 

Worse, some professors also place assessments, exams, and other miscellaneous assignments due on the weeks before and after the break. 

Not only do they give extra work, they cram content into the weeks prior and following the break. All of the calmness, relaxation, and de-stressing is counteracted in the week after, when classes hit the ground running, sometimes at even quicker speeds than before. 

After all, with only a few weeks left before finals, professors obviously have no choice but to drown us in work. What other choice do they have? 

Of course, the moments we do have to relax our minds during break are all the more valuable. So much so, that students deserve more. Students deserve more than one short-lived, high stakes break to get them through the remainder of the semester. We deserve one or two three-day weekends and perhaps even a five day weekend. 

Tech students should not have to cry and pray for March to come faster, crawling towards the salvation that is spring break. We are forced to savor those five days as if they are the last cookie in the jar or the last chip in the bag. 

Those moments of break-induced serenity and sanity are short-lived regardless. Soon after our return to school, we are dropped headfirst into the ice-cold reality; we are only mid-semester. School is not nearly at an end. 

We have five whole weeks left. It is only going to get worse before it gets better.