Opinion: A longer spring break is the simple solution to burnout

With travel, assignments and exams to study for, NYU’s one-week recess is hardly a break at all.


Kevin Wu

(Kevin Wu for WSN)

Molly Koch, Deputy Opinion Editor

Next Monday, NYU students begin their highly-anticipated one-week spring break. The time off is too brief, leaving students feeling like they only have a few days to recover from and prepare to return to the slog of exams, lectures and homework. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If spring break was just a few days longer — or, ideally, another week — students would be able to more effectively recover and come back refreshed for the second half of the spring semester.

As you walk around campus during the days before break, you’ll find students pushing through their final 500-word discussion posts and essays with faces full of dread. The spring semester of college brings extreme anxiety to students, especially given that the majority of it is spent during the winter months. A University of Notre Dame study revealed that students spent significantly less time outside during cold weather, isolating themselves with their assignments. Another study, conducted by an NYU Langone Health researcher found that students’ stress levels were consistently elevated during the spring semester. 

Spring break, which sits in the middle of the semester, serves as a strong motivator for many students. It is supposed to be a time to drop everything and immerse yourself in nicer surroundings than giant buildings that feel suffocating. However, the short time period prevents students from maximizing the benefits of the break.

The time that should be used to relieve our burnout is not long enough. Many unlucky students are assigned readings and homework assignments, or may have to study for exams occurring after break. When students should be working less or taking longer breaks, they are instead continuously hounded by assignments. Spring break is hardly a break if you’re constantly checking Brightspace, even if you’re sunbathing on a beach in Miami. A longer time period would allow students to instead spread out their assignments and dedicate time to recovering from the semester.

Although lengthening spring break would mean that the semester would carry further into May, frustrating students and delaying graduation for seniors, a longer spring break would be more beneficial. So why not shorten winter break and make spring break longer? While it may cut into January term, which provides students with a way to quickly fulfill graduation requirements or the chance to participate in study away programs, it is not the only option for students. Summer term, which offers a greater variety of classes and better weather, is a viable alternative for students looking to get ahead.

While the brief week off may provide some much-needed rest, it mainly just distracts students from the homework that will inevitably return right after the break. A prolonged spring break would help students relax and feel less pressure. The way things stand now, next week seems more like a tease than a true break.

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].