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EDITORIAL: Spring break must center students' need to recharge

Breaks must ensure that students have time to unwind and recharge

Spring break must be a time to recharge — not to be stressed about deadlines or busy with work. – Photo by Prescott Horn / Unsplash

We all love spring break because it is a mid-semester reprieve from school, work and other responsibilities. Especially given the fact that it comes after most midterms, spring break is a great opportunity to get away from school, see friends and family and just recharge, as many take the opportunity to visit new places and forget about the stress of regular life.

Spring break is a much-needed opportunity to just get away from everything for a second. Whether in a new city, bonding with friends or making new connections, spring recess gives us the chance to focus on ourselves and our own needs. When we can get away from the hectic life of being students, unchained from the daily routines of school, we are able to be fully present in the moment and enjoy the people around us.

In doing so, we enter a better headspace that is not cluttered with the stress of deadlines or projects. We go on a hiatus and unwind from the demands of daily life. Not as stressed, we can enjoy simple things more, whether it is watching a movie or buying new plants: During break, we do not need to fret about taking time to do things for ourselves or engage in activities that we enjoy.

What has been laid out so far is the ideal version of spring break: We are freed from school commitments, we have time to ourselves and we can pursue things we like. Unfortunately, though, spring recess does not pan out like this, most of the time, for everyone.

Although a week can be a nice escape from assignments, it is not that long. This amount of time might give us some refuge from not needing to think about work every single day, but it does not shield us from deadlines and projects forever.

Often, by the end of the week, the pressures of school have returned, and once forgotten deadlines become so near and so pressing that they can be overwhelming. The once blissful break crashes into a panic of work and the need to hit deadlines.

Especially after the stress of the past few years — a global pandemic and a myriad of other issues — universities everywhere should recognize and understand that students need time to destress and escape from the demands of school.

The University should emphasize to professors that spring recess needs to be a period of recharging for students, without any burden of schoolwork. Rutgers could create a buffer period to not only give students the best ability to take advantage of the break and not stress about school, which includes due dates, but also the anxiety surrounding grades.

There should be a buffer period so that students are not stressed right before, during or after break.

Work that is due right before break causes increased stress levels that make it difficult to fully enjoy break as students are coming off the adrenaline rush of work, and then they fret about their grades — something that is not ideal for having a restful, stress-free recess.

Likewise, work that is due during break infringes upon students’ time. As we are all so busy during the academic year, students’ time is often booked completely. The week of spring recess should be a time when students have full autonomy over their time — no work due, no projects, no assignments. It cannot be a break if students are still responsible for submitting work.

Work right after break, too, should not be expected. During break, students need to be given the space to just focus on themselves, not stressing about work due as soon as they return. Even more, most students will procrastinate on that work anyway and then panic and do it in a rush, resulting in work that might not be their best.

Breaks function best when the stress around them is as limited as possible. Rutgers must take action so that, during breaks, students can fully unwind and enjoy their time on their own terms, without any stress from school.

Students, likewise, must always remember to put themselves and their own needs first. If you need an extension, reach out to your professor and tell them what is happening, and they should be receptive to that.

Another step students can take would be to organize their schedules and plan their time. These skills can be difficult, so if students get together with friends and plan things together, including social outings or study pauses, it might help in long-term planning and making things more manageable.

Breaks are vital to preserving our mental health and making sure we are best suited to finish the semester strong — they must, then, actually be breaks.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 154th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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