July 28, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students push for relocation of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health -

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: No. 14 UMass WLAX ends season in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No. 14 UMass women’s lacrosse season ends in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sixth inning rally propels UMass past Dayton 7-2 -

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

McMahon, Ferris and McGovern: Not your usual transfer story -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Women’s lacrosse defeats Richmond 10-6 to win sixth straight A-10 Championship -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

No. 13 UMass women’s lacrosse knocks off Duquesne 16-3 to reach Atlantic 10 finals -

Friday, May 2, 2014

UMass one of 55 schools currently facing investigation over handling of sexual assault cases -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Two thefts reported at library -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Senior Columns 2013-2014 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass Dining proposes major meal plan changes -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass baseball beats UConn for first time since 2007 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MTV’s seemingly controversial new show proves to be ‘Faking It’ -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vacation vexation

Today marks a monumental moment for college students: The arrival of much-anticipated spring break 2012. At long last, we at the University of Massachusetts can drop the textbooks and lecture notes, say goodbye to W.E.B. Du Bois and pursue alternative adventures.

Courtesy MCT/Campus

Whether one plans to spend their week off traveling to tropical destinations documented on MTV, hibernating on the couch or gentrifying impoverished neighborhoods (saving the world one brushstroke at a time), students have high hopes for this nine-day hiatus from classes.

Considering its relatively short duration, the hype surrounding spring break seems disproportionately high. Didn’t we return from a six-week winter break just several weeks ago? It does already seem like a wintry blur.

Yet, between spring break, winter break, Thanksgiving and nearly four months of summer vacation, our academic calendar grants us more time off than we could have ever dreamed of back in grade school. The correlation between our tuition fees and time in class is ironically negative.

Even more ironically, we are granted these frequent breaks from a life that already contains many elements of a traditional vacation. Campus living provides the convenience of meal plans, dorm cleaning services, beautiful recreational facilities, cultural events, the PVTA and a skyscraper filled with books. Our student ID card magically functions as a dorm key, debit card, library card, laundry card and meal card all at once. Moreover, living on a campus with thousands of students our own age provides the ideal environment in which to learn and grow. The resources available through the Five College Consortium and greater Pioneer Valley further make Amherst a fantastic place to go to school.

We may not exactly live in the Campus Hotel, but our quality of life is undeniably high. Within the bubble of college life, we miraculously devote ourselves solely to intellectual growth, social activity and personal development.

And let’s talk about the weather. It is a glorious 68 degrees as I write this. Students are lying on their towels basking in the sun’s rays outside my window. I’m not sure if I am looking at Orchard Hill or Nantasket beach.

Yet in a bizarre reversal of fortune, we are only able to live this idyllic lifestyle for several weeks at a time before receiving yet another vacation. Each return home is not unlike Harry Potter’s return to the cupboard under the stairs: The magical life we live away in Amherst simply cannot be replicated.

This past winter break, I was initially thrilled to partake in the luxuries of having my own bedroom, taking shoeless showers and spending priceless quality time with my family. At some point two weeks in, however, I was forced to confront the first world problem of too much vacation. I never before thought I’d use the words “too much” and “vacation” in the same sentence.

At that point, being the mature and conscientious college student that I am, I realized I must accept the responsibility to utilize my valuable free time in productive ways. Thus began my search for summer internships, tackling of long-term homework assignments and volunteering at my local soup kitchen.

Just kidding. More accurately, thus began my search for new TV shows, tackling of long-term Facebook stalking and voluntarily eating my mother’s soup in our kitchen.

I would be remiss not to mention the stresses of college life from which we do all need an occasional break. Our weeks are filled with lectures, labs, meetings, jobs, exams and homework. We must learn to navigate the constant activity on campus, establish our priorities and find a healthy balance between academics, our social lives and our personal wellness. Students are likely preoccupied with heavy workloads and anxiety for the future.

Therefore, the hype surrounding spring break and other vacations is certainly justified. However, the conveniences and opportunities we are granted as part of a university community continue to provide their own form of vacation, even amid the pressures of college life.

I wish you all an enjoyable, restful and well-deserved spring break. For those of you disappointed over a lack of exciting plans, though, have no fear: You will soon be back in an environment where your daily scenery consists of a beautiful duck pond, social and recreational opportunities abound and a delicious meal is just a card swipe away.

Oh yeah, and you get to do homework, too. What could be better?

Merav Kaufman is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at merav@student.umass.edu.

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