Happy spring break, Hokies! Are you lounging on the beach? Catching up on sleep at home? Serving the local or global community? Virginia Tech students do all kinds of things for spring break, and Jason Arquette is back on the blog today talking about the need students have for this week off.
March signifies a critical point in the spring semester where students start to live day by day. Driven to comply with the demands of homework, exams, and the tremendous stress of competing for internships, students work tirelessly to simply complete work due the next day. This demanding schedule often offers no other option but to omit the luxury of planning ahead. Thus, by the time March begins students are left trapped beneath an unbearable workload. The most troubling matter of this cycle is the mental strain that accompanies students’ efforts to remain academically exceptional.
Under the constant mentality that they must outperform their peers to remain competitive, sleep is absolutely the first commodity discarded in any students’ schedule. Soon after sleep deprivation sets in, students tend to make matters even worst by skipping meals, leading diminished social lives, and gaining unhealthy amounts of stress. However, in the midst of this academic hurricane, students often find relief and the strength to continue their work in one week: spring break.
A collegiate spring break is quite obviously surrounded by some very negative connotations. Television shows and media outlets often portray spring break as an excuse for excessive partying and rampant behavior. Under this perspective, it is easy to see why many people interpret this event negatively. Admittedly, there are some students and areas where these stereotypes unfortunately prove themselves true. However, this experience is by no means the pinnacle college experience that students aspire to create for themselves. To almost everybody at Virginia Tech and even to students across the nation, spring break is just that -- a break.
One of the most popular spring break activities that students indulge in is sleep. More often than people may think, many students choose to spend their breaks in the comfort of their childhood bedroom to at least attempt to repay their sleep debt. Simply returning home for break also affords students a chance to reunite with their families and hometown friends. As strange as this may sound, by the time they return from college for the first time, many students realize that they now have two versions of themselves: a collegiate personality and a hometown personality. While a collegiate personality may very well end up being your legitimate personality, it is often associated with more responsibilities and higher stress levels. So when students return home, reverting to their hometown personalities is a common way to relieve stress and temporarily return to a life free of academic and social pressure.
There are also more than a handful of students who choose to generously spend their one opportunity for a break to help others. Over the years, spring break has actually become a popular time for mission trips to take place in the United States. With only a week to make a difference, many organizations and students work within the country to assist at the local level. The idea of doing charity work over spring break quite starkly contrasts the typical party image initially brought to mind.
Admittedly, the reality is that a large portion of students use their breaks to vacation rather than do charity work. With destinations like Florida, the Bahamas, and Cabo in mind, there are clearly those who choose to spend their time away from both college and home. However, this does not mean that these intentions are any different from those that choose to go home. In both scenarios the goal is still to relieve stress and relax.
Although the spring semester has only lasted a few weeks at this point, from this moment on when students get busy their work quickly avalanches upon itself. So while some choose to spend their time off at home, service events, or even on a beach the most important thing to understand is that these are all simply different methods of achieving much needed relaxation. In the end, spring break allows students the rare opportunity to take a breath when they need it most.