The importance of academic breaks


William T. Young Library is surrounded by ice-covered trees following an ice storm on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Brooklyn Kelley

As I watched the country roads turn into interstates through my windshield and eventually saw the Lexington skyline, I realized how bittersweet it was to have a shorter winter break.

Last year’s winter break was much longer than this one, and students had far more time to recover from the stressors of yet another semester tainted by COVID-19.

However, the promise of spring break to come and memories of fall break in the past semester makes the shorter winter break worth it.

Much like the fall 2020 semester, the past semester was difficult. Though many things, like normal athletic events and in-person classes returned, the looming possibility of everything going online again created worry that was too heavy to ignore.

I did miss having fall break in 2020, and it was extremely difficult to endure the whole semester without time to catch my breath, even though the longer winter break was slightly redemptive.

While I loved being at home for longer last year, I did begin to miss my friends and my classes, and I felt more than ready to come back by the end of winter break.

This year, I felt like I still had goals I had set before winter break that I did not have the chance to complete, but I am reassured by the promise of having spring break to complete those tasks.

Fall break was enough time for a short trip to refresh my mind, and this winter break, though it was only three weeks, was long enough for me to visit with family that I don’t normally see and take some time to think about things other than classes.

It is extremely difficult for me, and many other students, to go through a whole 17 weeks without a break.

Between classes and extracurriculars, it is hard for students to find time during the semester to take care of their mental health.

Burnout is a very common issue among college students, and going an entire semester without a break only increases burnout symptoms.

Honestly, I don’t think I will remember much about my classes themselves once I graduate. I do, however, think I will remember the breaks when I stopped and was able to take time to think about my experience.

I often find myself obsessing over classwork and responsibilities related to school, so having a few extra days without assignments due is a great way for me to recharge.

To me, college is much more enjoyable when I am taking time to consider how lucky I am to be here.

Breaks throughout the semester, even if they are short ones, help students to collect their thoughts, rest and spend time with loved ones.

So, while I did long for more time with my family as I was making the hour drive from my home back to Lexington, I understand that my break was cut short because I will be given chances to rest and make memories that last this academic year.

I look forward to the time that we do have off this semester and the good times that will come with it.