Fall break is a luxurious time. Or at least, that’s what we are made to believe.
Midterms are easily the worst time of any semester. Students are expected to go to every class while writing outstanding papers, completing impressive group projects and acing tests without having any idea of a professor’s grading practices.
In the spring semester, we are rewarded with spring break, which more often than not results in a week of laziness, not a week of intoxication, as MTV would like us to assume.
In the fall, we are deceived into thinking that we will be rewarded with a similar week of rest and relaxation after an equally stressful time.
Reality check: Fall break is only two days off of school. And as stressful as midterm week tends to be, the chances of having another midterm or two after break is very high because more than one of your teachers thinks he is being considerate when he pushes them back. The result, of course, is having your usual amount of homework to do over break, in addition to the work that is required to do well on a midterm.
So really, fall break is a whole lot of build up for not a whole lot of time off.
Still, I have always managed to cram an extraordinary amount into my fall breaks.
My freshman and sophomore year breaks I spent bopping from one friend’s college to the other, visiting most of my high school friend group in the eight days of freedom.
My junior year, I decided to switch it up, by visiting some of my best friends from college where they studied abroad.
Of course, I decided to do this in July, when syllabuses remained uncreated and flights cheapened by time. Still, I purchased tickets to Santiago, Chile, fully knowing I would be missing at least three days of classes and spending all of my savings.
That decision resulted in the greatest vacation of my life. I was able to see my dear friends, whom I was spending a year apart from; visit a country I had never been to — let alone a continent and relax in a way I thought impossible in the midst of the most stressful semester imaginable. It was a wonderful time, but, unfortunately, I came back to more work, with loads of laundry and very jet-lagged.
Senior year fall break needs to have a different outcome. I have no extra money to spend, post-graduation applications that need to be completed, school work to catch up on and laundry to do. But most of all, I need to take a break. Plus, there is no way to top Chile, and I have no desire to visit any other universities at this point.
So where could I spend virtually no money, sleep comfortably and get work done? There is only one logical answer.
Tomorrow, I will be going home for the first time since July. I won’t miss any school. I’ll have a weekend of rest and relaxation and be able to actually do laundry, not create more of it. My four days off promise to be relaxing and efficient, and I will be able to see many of my high school friends while still being able to sleep in my favorite bed.
It took me four years, but I think I finally understand that the beauty of fall break lies not in its length (or brevity), but in its timing. There is no need to cram in a vacation. Instead, it is a time to relax after a hard week and recharge for the rest of the semester. So really, fall break is luxurious — we just have to accept it for what it is (a four-day weekend) and not for what we want it to be (spring break). Sorry, we have to wait for that one.