Opinion: A shorter winter break would actually be better for you

Although students favor the long recess, having a shorter one has substantial benefits.


Camila Ceballos

(Camila Ceballos for WSN)

Molly Koch, Deputy Opinion Editor

As students returned to campus this past weekend, two things I heard over and over again were “The break was too short” and “The break was way too long.” The majority of students frequently see the holidays as the light at the end of the tunnel after months of uninteresting dining hall meals, odd sleeping schedules and final exams. Winter break helps you unwind, recharge and reestablish social connections.

Although most students — especially first-years — are fans of the long five weeks of recess, they’re less enthusiastic about the dreadful return. A period of rest and the absence of deadlines is wonderful, but it can have its disadvantages too.

During winter break, you spend just enough time at home to revert to old habits — you take another shower in your bathroom without shower shoes, constantly drive to the same hometown destinations, and quarrel with your siblings just like you used to. Tisch first-year Nick Portugal said he did not relate to a change in habits, especially as a commuter. But he did note a difficulty in returning to his workload at NYU.

“When students are away from school for so long it can take a while for their workflow to pick up again,” Portugal said. “At least, this has been the result in my case — the longer the recess, the longer it takes to regain a proper workflow.” 

You also surely had high expectations for your productivity. Perhaps it was the goal of completing your application for a summer job, learning a new skill, reading that stack of books you’ve had by your bedside for months, or even planning ahead for the upcoming semester. But regrettably, you often realize that you didn’t get to do any of those things. Trees die in the winter, and ambition dies during winter break.

Steinhardt first-year Jasley De Jesus explained that since she knew she planned on switching majors, she spent her recess not knowing how to plan for the new semester.

“In my case, I felt less inclined to prepare for the next semester since I’m not sure what to do,” said De Jesus. “I am already easily burnt out because I tried to work during the recess. Now coming back, I’m tired already before the semester begins.”

What will drive you most insane over break, however, is probably your parents. One of the benefits of college is the independence that comes with it. Although the transition may have been challenging, you can’t imagine needing to inform someone of your whereabouts while making a midnight run to Upstein. But once you were back home, you received that all-too-familiar text asking, “Where are you? When are you coming home?” Being home for six weeks was all fun and games until the transition period wore off. With a shorter winter break, students are able to still spend quality time with their families before it becomes too much and all they want to do is return to campus.

“I’m a commuter, but I think a lot of the appeal of going to college is being able to get away from your family,” CAS junior Ashley Santiago said. “I believe that staying home for a long amount of time could make you less independent.”

Perhaps the worst aspect of winter recess isn’t the actual recess itself, but rather the time that follows: the return. The creeping course load after syllabus week and insufficient sleep all return with the start of classes. No matter the length of recess, students cannot escape this period, but a smaller and genuinely more refreshing time away from college would make the transition less painful and help international students, who may not be able to go home, stay sane.

The longer the recess is, the more it will make you upset, perplexed and eventually unsatisfied. In other words, a shorter recess would be less agonizing.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer. Contact Molly Koch at [email protected].