Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why College Students Need A Fall Break

Nicole Brown, Marketing Intern
Alex Newby, Marketing Intern

University of Kentucky’s campus near midterms can be described by one word: stress.
With papers, projects, and sometimes multiple exams a day, many students find themselves sleep-deprived and exhausted by the middle of the week. Unlike finals week, classes aren’t cancelled and students are still responsible for their day to day activities.

This year’s midterm week at UK was October 15th and while it’s already past, the memories are still fresh in the minds of stressed students who worked hard to finish all the exams, papers, and projects that were crammed into that week. Looking back on the unnecessary stress and sleepless nights made us wonder... Wouldn’t it be great to have a break?

Granted, we are coming up on Thanksgiving Break. From Wednesday, Nov. 21st thru Sunday the 25th, students will have the chance to go home and spend the holidays with family. But, how great would it be to have another break? A Fall Break! After talking with people around campus, we found that students and instructors not only want a fall break; they need it!

A week off of school near the middle of the semester would allow students to go home and visit their families. For freshmen, this is especially important. Being at a new school and adjusting to a new life can be hard. For students that live out of state or a few hours away, it’s hard to find the time to sneak home for a few days without missing classes or other obligations. By the time you spend a few hours driving home on Friday and back on Sunday, the trip may not have been worth it.

Having a Fall Break would also give everyone a chance to regroup and relax. Many students on campus aren’t just students. With part-time jobs, required internships, sports teams, and extra-curriculars, the average student does much more than just study. During the semester, the pressure of juggling all of these activities can be stressful. Having a few days off from school would give students the mini-vacation they need to breathe, re-group, and re-organize their schedule. As Jonah Lehrer cites in his article, “The Importance of Vacation,” psychologists studying the effects of vacation on the minds of undergrads concluded that students are more creative in problem solving when they’ve been removed from their usual surroundings. Instead of feeling tired and worn-out from the semester, students would be able to take a break, refresh, and go into the second half of the semester feeling ready to tackle finals.

Having a Fall Break would give students the chance to enjoy the season. Although this may seem or sound trivial, students that are happier and less stressed in their non-academic life will most likely perform better in their school and work life. In the fall, there are football games, tailgates, hayrides, Keeneland and numerous other things to enjoy if you have the time. Taking a break from school to enjoy social activities will help students feel like they still have a life outside of classes.

Having a chance to relax would also help students emotionally re-charge. If you’re constantly working and there’s not much free time, it’s easy to get down. According to a 2009 nationwide survey done by the American College Health Association, nearly 30% of college students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some time in the past year. A Fall Break would be a great and necessary way to help students avoid feeling burnt-out on classes and responsibilities.

Heading into Thanksgiving Break, we’re thankful for the time-off, yet wish the much needed break had happened sooner. Fall Break would provide a removal from the usual grind, giving students the opportunity to refresh their brain and increase their creativity, helping to create a happier, healthier, more productive student body!

“The Importance of Vacation”:

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