Yes, it snowed on the first day of spring. Yes, global warming is a thing. Yes, all your Instagram photos of the school covered in snow were original and fantastic and I’ll double-tap each of them.
But more annoying to me than missing a day and a smidge of class (I pay tuition to get educated, I will fight you) is getting a week off for spring break with winter weather.
If you’re anything like me, this spring break was a mental exercise of knowing you have a lot of work, specifically not doing the work because this is your recuperation week, being bored about having nothing to do and then regretting spending a week doing nothing as you cram for tests and write essays up to those midnight deadlines.
One of the reasons I couldn’t come up with serious spring plans was the snow. This was the third spring break in a row where there was a snowstorm that elicited an email from Stony Brook Emergency Management. Spring break wasn’t even during spring.
To be fair, the placement of spring break makes logical sense. It takes place seven weeks after the start of the semester and seven weeks before the end of finals. And that’s great. It’s better than the fall semester plan of a two-day break for Labor Day and a three-day break for Thanksgiving. Thank God that’s being switched up next semester.
But beyond being a week of respite from classes, spring break should be a week of mental rehabilitation. College is hard. Stony Brook is hard. And that’s a good thing. But more mentally healthy than a week off, stuck indoors and cold during the last week of winter, would be a week of spring weather, blooming trees and general calm. How great would it be to hike and go to amusement parks or baseball games instead of being stuck inside with nothing to do except read or binge watch The Office again while ignoring the mountain of homework looming around the corner?
The Stony Brook administration does not control the weather. They can’t be expected to know, at the time of planning spring break, how much snow will fall. But three years in a row is a pretty clear reason to postpone spring break at least until after spring has sprung.
Enter Passover. I know I’ve written about this before. I know that Stony Brook has a policy about giving off during religious holidays and I totally understand. But hear me out on this.
Passover is a weeklong holiday. One of its other names is “Holiday of the Spring,” because the Jewish lunar calendar is rigged to make sure it always falls in the spring. Last year, it fell on the first week of 80 degree weather.
I will take off for Passover anyway. I’m legally allowed to and my family expects me to. This is not a way to ask for extra days off. As it is, I get both spring break and Passover. I have worked holidays out with teachers in a myriad of ways: taking tests later, having other tests worth more credit, handing in homework early and more. In my experience at Stony Brook, professors have been incredibly respectful of my holidays.
I don’t necessarily need Passover off this year. The days of Passover that I’d need to miss class for are over weekends (and a Thursday night). This year, Passover falls two weeks after spring break, the night of March 30. Last year, Passover was a month later than Spring break. I understand that waiting a month after the halfway point wouldn’t be the best way to schedule a week of recuperation. But Passover is a model of a “spring break system” that shifts to more accurately fall in the spring.
Maybe the adjustment made could be that spring break always falls on the week after March 20, the first day of spring. It might not always be the exact center of the semester, but the chances of having better weather are higher. Or maybe Passover or Easter or other springtime holidays can be taken into account when scheduling the break; if they can be included in spring break without shifting it too late in the semester then they are.
I hope some of these thoughts are taken into account in future semesters. Have a wonderful spring and good luck on finals.