Opinion: An extended spring break is an easy solution to burnout

With commutes, assignments, and exams to study for, a one-week break at NYU is hardly a break.

New York University students begin their long-awaited spring break next Monday. The holidays are too short, leaving students feeling like they have only a few days to recover and prepare to return to exams, lectures and homework. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If spring break were just a few days longer — or, ideally, another week — students could recover more effectively and return refreshed for the second half of the spring semester.

Walking around campus in the days leading up to the break, you’ll see students reading their final 500-word discussion posts and essays with faces full of dread. The spring semester of college brings a lot of anxiety to students, especially since most of it is during the winter months. A study by the University of Notre Dame found that students spent much less time outside in cold weather, isolating himself with his tasks. Another study by NYU health researcher Langone found that stress levels in college students were steadily elevated during the spring semester.

Spring break, which falls in the middle of the semester, is a powerful motivator for many students. It’s supposed to be a time to drop everything and immerse yourself in a better environment than giant buildings that feel suffocating. However, the short time frame does not allow students to get the most out of their vacation.

The time to use to get rid of burnout is not long enough. Many unlucky students are assigned homework as well, or may have to study for exams that take place after the break. When students should be working less or taking longer breaks, they are instead constantly bombarded with assignments. Spring break is hardly a break if you’re constantly checking Brightspace, even if you’re sunbathing on the beach in Miami. A longer period of time will allow students to instead distribute their assignments and devote time to recovery after the semester.

Although extending spring break would mean the semester would run further into May, frustrating students and delaying graduation for seniors, a longer spring break would be more beneficial. So why not shorten the winter break and make spring break longer? While this can be shortened to the January semester, giving students the opportunity to quickly complete graduation requirements or participate in programs of study, it is not the only option for students. The summer semester, which offers a greater variety of classes and better weather, is a viable alternative for students who want to get ahead.

While a short week off can provide a much-needed break, it mostly just distracts students from the homework that will inevitably return right after the break. An extended spring break will help students relax and feel less pressure. As things stand now, next week looks more like a teaser than an actual break.

The Opinion section of WSN aims to publish ideas worthy of discussion. The opinions presented in the Opinion section are solely those of the writer.

Contact Molly Koch at [email protected]

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