Fresh Perspective | Taking Advantage of Spring Break

Fresh Perspective is a biweekly blog about typical college experiences made strange by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Julia Smeltzer, Senior Staff Writer

It is the first day of March and the last Wednesday before spring break. There are no clouds in the sky and the sun is shining down on campus as students find their way to any green space. Feel-good music is seeping through speakers, spike ball nets line the grass, hammocks occupy any tree in sight and the 70-degree weather makes the campus come alive. Such a beautiful day gives students a sneak peek of the arrival of spring break next week.

The spring semester is challenging for everyone. The sun sets before you walk to your night class, you can’t leave the house without your winter jacket and the academic burnout hits faster and harder. After a stressful week of midterms, spring break could not have come at a better time. So, whether you are going on vacation, traveling home or staying on campus for this week-long break, you must take advantage of it.

There is a lot of pressure in college to have a fun spring break vacation. Most students find themselves traveling down south to Florida or South Carolina, or even going out of the country to Mexico or the Dominican Republic for a week-long party on the beach. If that isn’t on your agenda for spring break, you might find yourself feeling jealous. You will check social media and see all of your peers having fun and making memories and feel like you’re missing out on the college “rite of passage” that is a spring break vacation.

If you are feeling left out on spring break plans, you are not alone. A lot of students don’t have the financial resources to support a vacation or aren’t interested in a week-long party on the beach — and that’s okay. It is so easy to compare our lives to others, especially in college. When we see others around us having fun or making exciting memories on spring break, it is easy to feel left out and jealous.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not as fun as it looks. Don’t get me wrong, a week on the beach with my friends is exactly what I need right now. However, there is so much planning that goes into spring break and the possibility for so many things to go wrong. Save your money, spare yourself the trouble, and do whatever you want on your spring break because you deserve it.

Instead of taking that vacation on the beach, I’ll be traveling back to my hometown for a couple of days. I’m looking forward to laying on the couch with my dogs and spending quality time with my family, who I have missed so much. I also can’t wait for my parents to take me out to dinner, because as a borderline-broke college student, I could use a nice meal.

Whether you go to Ft. Lauderdale or not next week, you can still make the best out of your spring break. At the end of the day, it is a much-deserved break. If you are going home for a break, take it all in. Hopefully, you can enjoy a home-cooked meal to get a break from on-campus food or be able to do your laundry for free without swiping your Panther Card. Maybe stop by your favorite local restaurant or find time to meet up with your friends from home you might not have seen in a while. You might even realize you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else for spring break.

Whether or not you go on vacation for spring break, you must relax. Even though professors may have assignments, papers, or tests ready for you the day we return, don’t let that dig into your well-deserved break. Take this time to take care of your mental and physical well-being. Simply putting away school for a week can help you feel more refreshed to finish out the rest of the semester.

Speaking of the rest of the semester, it is going to get stressful. Between final exams, papers, group presentations, and so on, we all have a busy schedule coming our way after spring break. So using this next week to take time for ourselves and to have fun, no matter what that looks like, is crucial to finishing the semester off on a high note.

Everyone’s spring break is going to look different, so try not to compare yourselves to the people around you. Whether you are partying on a beach for a week or spending time back in your hometown, just do whatever feels right for you. Prioritize this time on taking care of your mental well-being, because that’s what matters most.


Julia Smeltzer writes primarily about mental health and college experiences. You can reach her at [email protected].