A typical spread for Passover seder featuring traditional food such as matzah brei. SUZIE TREMMEL/FLICKR VIA CC BY 2.0

I wasted spring break. While I bookended it with two great parties, I spent the majority of time stuck at home, lethargic and moody.

The week began with the Jewish holiday of Purim. To celebrate a narrow escape from legalized persecution in ancient Persia, my friends and I went to a costume party in Greenwich Village. The following Sunday, my family celebrated my sister’s Bat Mitzvah. In between, it snowed to the point where the CUNY’s and even Stony Brook sent out emails telling students not to come. I was physically and emotionally cold.

I don’t mean to stir the pot and say that we should coordinate spring break so my Passover (and Easter!) is class free (though it would be nice). I would argue that having a school-cancelling snowstorm during two consecutive spring breaks should lead to consideration about pushing them a bit further back.

One of the names of Passover is “Holiday of the Spring.” The first day of Passover featured 80 degree, sunny weather. Here, my own real spring break bloomed. As per Orthodox Jewish tradition, I spent the first two days of Passover away from my computer, phone and anything that could be considered schoolwork. No texts or emails were answered. No assignments handed in (I did them all beforehand). Unable to work on anything college-related, I didn’t have to worry about it.

The first two nights my family stayed up with my neighbors until around one in the morning, laughing, eating and telling over the exodus story at our Seders. I spent the first day walking around my community in the splendid weather with an old ex-girlfriend, talking about where our lives have taken us. On the second day, I took a gloriously long nap.

I returned to campus on Thursday, mainly to meet up with friends and coordinate on future events. I did not have any serious homework or exhausting classes. I had a picnic on the Staller steps, caught up on the YouTube I had missed, ate chicken for breakfast and went to sleep early. On Friday, after organic chemistry, I spent the train ride home reading, went shopping with my mom and sister and got ready for Sabbath.

In addition to the overeating and the wonderfully calming experience of going to synagogue to pray, I was able to play Settlers of Catan with my brothers and have more nap time. My grandfather came over for the last four days. After Sabbath, I drove to my best friend’s house. We spent four hours catching up, complaining and fretting about our summer plans.

My family spent Sunday throwing the baseball around, walking on the beach, watching Beauty and the Beast and getting ready for two more days of holiday: more eating, more praying, more napping, less contact and time to think about school and work.

For both of the last two days we had lunch with other families. On both, days I reached my reading goals. On both days, I went over to friends to play wacky board games, talk about fashion, try new foods and gossip over who’s dating who.

The whole week had nice and varied weather. I ate too much. I probably slept the right amount. I deepened my personal relationships. I feel truly recharged to come back to school and write out the articles I need to write and to study for the Orgo test on Monday that’s bound to be devastating. I’m ready to shift into finals mode. It’s wacky that there are only two weeks left to this semester! But I’m ready to work hard.

Spring break is a week dedicated to freedom from the everyday life of college to take stock of where you are, reorganize yourself, have some fun and relaunch recharged for the remainder of the semester. Passover is a week dedicated to remembering and re-experiencing freedom, taking stock of where you are (it takes place six months after Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year), reorganize yourself, eat too much, and relaunch redetermined to accomplish goals set half a year earlier.

Whatever break you get, use it well. Good luck on the end of the semester!