Anyone who regularly goes to work, be it a 9-to-5 cubicle worker, a part-time McDonald’s employee or a student here at the University of California, Santa Barbara, understands the value of a break. The length of a break can vary. Of course, breaks can be too long or, in the case of UCSB’s spring break, perhaps too short. It makes you wonder: how long should breaks last?
Of course, there’s no definitive answer to this, given that people need breaks more or less often depending on a slew of variables. However, a break’s length should be just long enough for people to fully unwind without becoming bored, with the former condition being more important.
On one end of the spectrum, summer break feels rather long. After a month of resting, people start getting bored with their surroundings and want to resume classes, or at the very least have something to do. On the other end, we have our most recent spring break.
Some feel that spring break is just right, while the overwhelming majority of people felt like it wasn’t long enough. No one thinks it was too long. I stand with the majority of people and think that our spring break wasn’t nearly enough time to get back on our feet.
Breaks are a time for people to recuperate after a period of high stress, akin to catching your breath after a particularly long sprint. Winter quarter was, to many, one of the more difficult quarters, yet it had the shortest downtime. Perhaps the week-long break felt so short because of how difficult its preceding quarter was, or it could just be that a week is simply not enough time for a good break?
Because of the break’s length — or lack thereof — many students feel like winter and spring quarter had blended together into one massive and quickly draining block of school work. This feeling of an extended quarter wasn’t helped by the fact that we started planning spring quarter in the middle of winter quarter, so in reality the two quarters are already mixed to a degree. Some of us haven’t had our first midterm yet and are already feeling burned out, because we haven’t had time to “reset” and pull ourselves together.
With this being such a stressful issue that taxes psychological, mental and even emotional strength, it seems like we have a clear-cut solution. We can’t simply make spring break longer. We do have to keep our grades up, but summer break seems to last too long.
Perhaps we could shuffle some dates around, shaving a week or two off summer break and tacking it on to the end of spring break. Of course, this line of action brings up its own questions. Do we really want to be doing work all the way through the end of June, or starting classes around the beginning of September?
A week may not sound like too big a difference, but humans are notorious for having a terrible grasp of time. This is likely a contributing factor to the short-feeling spring break: it takes people a while to realize they’re on break, and they consequently start to relax later rather than sooner.
However, talking about one side almost demands talking about the other. We’ve been looking at taking an action to change the length of spring break, but should we?
In the real world, breaks (now renamed to the adult term “vacation”) aren’t even guaranteed. It all depends on the company you’re working for. Some companies don’t give their newest employees any vacation time, but those with more experience under their belt can accumulate more vacation time. Maybe we can follow the accumulation trend, where every X amount of units earns you Y amount of days on break, or higher GPA’s get more time.
In the end, the length of a break is more complicated than it seems. There’s a lot of logistical stuff that has to be followed, and no matter what the set up is, not everyone will be happy. For now, it seems like we just have to deal with a short spring break and dig a little deeper to get through this quarter, and not break under the