(MAX WEI / THE STATESMAN)
Assigning work during spring break defeats the purpose of having a break. More and more college students, however, face this dilemma. (MAX WEI / THE STATESMAN)

There is a moment every one of us faces before break: either work diligently a little bit every day, spreading things out and responsibly managing the work that has been assigned to you, or do nothing for ninety percent of the time you have and invariably wind up getting little to no sleep as you scramble to finish your work. Most likely, we have all more often than not chosen the latter – most of us prefer the “party now, work later” approach. What I wonder is, why do we have this much work in the first place?

Now that’s not to say that we are not responsible for letting things pile up. Yes, we ought to space out our work so we can handle it. Yes, we need to allow ourselves time to get some of the more lengthy assignments done. But shouldn’t spring break be – oh I don’t know, a break from schoolwork? You see, this is my view: while still taking responsibility for my own education and the work that it entails, spring break should be a time for us to relax and get our minds off school for a while. I believe a mental break is something that more and more students are requiring these days. The world certainly is not becoming any less stressful and neither is the higher education process. Most of us are worried about grades, family, love, loans, work, assignments and countless other things. Spring Break should be the time to let all of that go, or at least reduce the amount of things we have to fret over.

There is then the issue of having schoolwork to do over recesses. Now, I can see where educators are coming from when giving us big assignments over breaks – we can set our own pace and can get work done without using up time in-class – but this defeats the purpose of a break. I do realize that we are in college now and there is work to be done and sometimes, there is a lot of it. However, spilling this work over into the designated time for relaxation and recuperation hurts us rather than helps us. No rejuvenation actually takes place and more often than not, students come back bitter that their “break” was spent doing work.

What’s even worse is when exams are scheduled for the day we return from a break, like the Chemistry 132 exam that took place on March 24 of this semester. Now I understand that scheduling exams is a slippery slope – these things are usually planned months in advance – but when they are scheduled for the day we get back, not only do students not get to relax over the break, but they feel more stress than usual. We end up more worried about the exams because we do not have access to the resources of the university. I am not saying that breaks should be free of work, but I propose that professors pledge not to assign large amounts of schoolwork over breaks – no more than “one day’s worth.” That way, we are productive while being offered to opportunity to relax and continue to be productive.

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We can no longer ignore the mental impact of seeking a higher education. Everyone is stressed, and it does not have to be this way. There are simple changes that administration can make to help – like avoiding assigning large amounts of work over short breaks and especially avoiding holding exams for the day we come back. It is imperative that students are given a break from their obligations every now and then. Otherwise, the risk of them crashing and burning during a transitional period in their lives increases. And that’s something none of us want – not for ourselves and not for anyone else.

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