Spring recess is a month away, and winter break is a distant memory. In total, we have 55 consecutive school days from the start of the spring semester until spring break. We think that’s simply too much.
Look around. Students, even professors, have reached a point of exhaustion. Many of us have poured ourselves into our midterms and don’t have the stamina to dedicate more energy to our studies without a break, even if it’s a brief one. Academia shouldn’t be a feat of endurance; we’re not here to test the limits of our psyches.
We should not have more than two months of classes without a day off because under that much constant pressure, the quality of our work and our mental health both suffer.
Breaks in the semester are crucial for emotional, psychological and physical recuperation. Many of us are getting run-down, or simply overwhelmed. Seasonal affective disorder takes its toll now. Who among us is immune to the effects of a lack of sunlight in conjunction with ceaseless course and group responsibilities? Who among us would not benefit from a few days in March designated for mental and physical relaxation and regrouping?
Simply making spring break earlier is problematic. Spring break currently, and historically, overlaps with Passover and Easter. This isn’t arbitrary. Scheduling break to coincide with these observances allows many students to return home for the holidays, to say nothing of the difficulties that many students would face if classes remained in session, due to heightened food restrictions during Passover.
Sure, there are a few other perks to having an earlier spring break. There are travel deals that are especially tied to this time of the year, which we miss by having a break so late. And a majority of our friends’ colleges have spring break the second week of March. We want to see our family and friends, and maybe get a few days of sunshine, but these inconveniences pale in comparison to the very real effects of so much stress without any relief.
Respites from our intense academic and social lives at school are crucial for allowing us the space to decompress, and internalize what we’ve learned, both in our classes and day-to-day lives at school. Even if it’s just a long weekend, getting away for a few days is beneficial psychologically and academically.
It’s also relevant that we don’t have off for any of the national holidays in February, including Presidents Day, which many schools have off.
Ultimately, this isn’t so much about reassigning spring break so our trips coincide with deals to Cabo or our friends’ schools’ breaks, so much as it is about the mental and physical well-being of the students at Binghamton University.
As we’ve written in these pages before, we’re against students wishing time away. We’re therefore quite ambivalent about hoping spring break would come sooner. Especially for those of us who are seniors, we know that spring break spells one thing. The familiar one-two punch of spring break — Spring Fling means, before you know it, we’re walking down that aisle clad in green, diploma in hand. For this reason too, having time off in March would allow us to make the most of our last semester without wishing it would end sooner. Because none of us want that.