“Sorry, Mom! I can’t watch a movie with the family, my paper is due in a few hours!”
These are words I actually had to say over the Thanksgiving break of my freshman year of college.
As students work hard throughout the semester, making deadlines, studying and accomplishing all that is on their academic calendars, school breaks are usually their checkpoints. These are the points in the semester that students can look forward to, knowing that they will have time for themselves, their families and friends and having some time away from their educational demands.
Whether it is a long weekend, a week off or the month-long break that separates the fall and spring semesters, students are motivated to work their hardest to reach these intermissions.
When students are constantly undergoing much academic pressure, they tend to put themselves second in terms of what is most important. Often, deadlines and grades are deemed more important than their own mental health. However, because things like good grades and making deadlines are apparent keys to success, school breaks embedded in the academic year offer periods of time for students to decompress.
As a student myself, it’s easy for me to say that it’s not fun doing work for class when on these breaks. But it’s important to understand that this is not just because it gets in the way of a good time. When professors make assignments due or demand other effort from students throughout these breaks, they are taking time away from the students that should be given to themselves.
Not only do students deserve time to tend to themselves, but for some, these breaks offer time with their families. Some students are only able to see their families during breaks and therefore want to absorb as much time with them as they can. No one wants to say to their parents or close friends that they can’t be a part of an event because one professor thought it would be neat to set a due date in the middle of a school break.
In addition, many students return to their workplaces when they are home. They may want to, as well as sometimes need to, make a few paychecks before returning to school. Balancing time with family and friends, their work schedule and homework would be overwhelming during a time that is meant for relaxing.
As a server in the food service industry, when I give my boss the dates that I am home and available for work, I am scheduled nearly every day in between returning home and going back to school. Since I’m working the majority of the time I am home, I want the time before and after my shifts to be with the people that matter, the people I do not get to see while I am busy at school and the people that help me remember to take care of myself during the chaos of it all. Having to return to my home after a twelve-hour double to make sure I complete a reading response on time is something I not only don’t want to do but feel is unnecessary and not beneficial to my overall well-being.
Ultimately, having to complete academic tasks during school breaks completely takes away the motivation that is subconsciously instilled in students to work hard until they reach those decompression periods. When students are not allowed time for themselves, they truly face the consequences in more areas than one.
Sleep-deprived? Sure. Upset about missing their friends at school? Maybe. However, families and friends do not expect students to come home significantly stressed about getting work done for a class. These breaks should be a break from academic demands; students deserve time to simply relax.
Makailey Cookis is a Collegian Columnist and can be reached at [email protected]