Students Need a Longer Spring Break

There are just four days of class left until the end of winter quarter. I have one last project due and three finals to binge study for in the coming two weeks. Then comes a blissful and well-earned week of no worries, no responsibilities, and no alarm clocks. It’s finally time for Spring Break.

This time off feels especially needed after such a stressful quarter of extended working hours and unexpected downpours of rain. But just one week? Is that really enough time for students to recuperate? It seems as though the moment you begin to enjoy yourself and remember that there is more to life than school, bam! You’re back on campus.

Let’s rewind back to Winter Break’s excessive four weeks of recess. It was either too cold or too wet to explore the city, and the upcoming holidays meant that friends went back home to their families. The majority of us were left at home watching movies and sipping hot chocolate for the break’s duration. This, personally, didn’t seem like the most efficient use of my time off.

Not to mention, coming back from a month long winter break left me feeling unmotivated and lethargic for the quarter ahead. I did not show the same level of enthusiasm for my courses as I did in prior quarters because my mind was set on spring and summer vacation. After four weeks without quizzes, homework assignments, lectures, and finals, I was left in a comfortable state of laziness from which I have not yet recovered.

A question arises: Why not shorten winter break and extend spring break? This grants students the opportunity to reconnect with friends, fix uneven tans, and earn some extra money with longer work hours. A slightly shorter winter break will still allow students to recuperate from a hectic quarter, but it will also alleviate concerns of future course apathy and force their minds to remain focused on academic pursuits once the quarter begins.

The media has long portrayed spring break as a wild and tumultuous week of ongoing parties, drinking, and, at times, illegal conduct. Such depictions leave high school students with an overly exaggerated image of college breaks, mirroring those seen in films like 22 Jump Street. But at UCI, we’re doing the same thing during spring break as we are in any other break: seeking a bit of fun and gaining a lot of rest. The realization of a stereotypical spring break is possible, but it is often short-lived, given our insufficient five school days off.

However, a two-week recess would allow UCI’s student body the opportunity to leave their comfort zone and explore the world’s offerings. Currently, some sacrifice sleep in favor of securing a thrilling break, such as driving up north to go camping in Yosemite or flying across the country to see a concert. An extra week would grant students (and faculty) the time to become more acquainted with their new environment while also getting the opportunity to seize the day after twelve full hours of sleep. In contrast, just five days off forces students to return to campus in a mental state far worse than when they left as a result of sleep deprivation, or else leave them longing for an extended break rather than focusing on school. Such a mindset may prove detrimental to Anteaters’ academic performance during the quarter.

In reality, a two-week spring break poses significant benefits to students’ development. It gives us time to enjoy the sun’s warmth and bask in the initial days of springtime without having to worry about lecture the following week. If given two weeks, the tortures of having to choose between taking comfort in one’s bed or owning the night with friends can be eliminated.

Lilith Martirosyan is a second-year business administration major. She can be reached at llmartir@uic.edu.