Editorial, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Give us a break — but maybe reconsider the date?

As we reach the mid-semester lull, there is only one thing on everyone’s mind: vacation. 

The endless tirade of papers, exams and sleepless nights have steadily led us down a slippery slope towards burnout. Who couldn’t use a week off right now? But in considering the length and timing of this year’s spring break — which occurs from March 4-12 — we are left to wonder if any real pause is offered at all.

Chloe Patel | Senior Graphic Artist

The referendum for a one-week break is normally defended by the fact that most students feel the brevity is worth getting the semester done with at a reasonable time.

On paper, this idea seems to make sense, but in practice, it doesn’t really provide students with the much-needed relief they require.

For example, take into account projected travel times. The only place where things move slower than the DMV is airport terminals. While wait times can be long, what can be even longer is a flight, especially with potential weather delays. 

Transportation alone eats up a significant amount of time for students who want to fly somewhere warm to escape the cold in Massachusetts or return to their home state on the other side of the country.

Six hours of valuable vacation time are already lost just getting to California — a home state to a plethora of BU undergraduates. If 12 hours are being dedicated to solely moving between two places, how much quality break time are we getting? 

It’s this dilemma that has many students conflicted about whether to remain on campus or spend the hefty price for a quick travel experience. Given the contingencies of travel time, it appears that maybe an additional week would make the vacation more worthwhile for those looking to go a couple extra miles away.

That’s merely one factor to consider — there’s also the issue of timing. Unfortunately, many colleges and universities in the nation will be taking their spring breaks the week after ours, which leaves students returning home in the awkward situation of having nobody to pass the time with. After all, how long can a vacation really be enjoyable without some company?

Many also note the all too apparent “midterm overload” that seems to be occurring right now, as professors are looking to cram in exams, papers and group projects all before we break. While technically we are in the middle of the semester, with the first seven-week period coming to an end on March 3, it seems that the spacing of these assignments is much less sporadic than it was in the Fall semester.

Although the onset of burnout from this surplus of work makes next week the perfect time for a break, we are left to grapple with what will become of our mental health in the second half of the semester. 

Once students return to campus on March 13, the next seven-week session will commence, and back to the cycle of non-stop work we will go. The only reprieve we can expect will come from the Patriot’s Day weekend in April.

The solution may not be as cut and dry as merely extending vacation because in some sense, too long of an intermission could extinguish whatever fervor we have to finish out the rest of the semester. 

To prevent that end-of-semester collapse, the institution could potentially find a solution by moving a week of winter vacation to April. Even incorporating a mental health day sometime in the latter half of the semester seems like a reasonable and minimal price to pay for the well-being of all students. 

But perhaps in critiquing the terms and conditions of spring break we are merely detracting from the fact that college is just hard. In the grand scheme of things, this issue is relatively minor and a leave of absence is always a possibility for any student who requires an extended break.

However, it is still important to be mindful that college students are humans, not machines, and therefore require meaningful rest every now and then. An investment in a worthy intermission will only benefit the productivity of the university as a whole. 

This editorial was written by Opinion Editor Analise Bruno

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