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Spring break never comes soon enough

While opinions on this page have raised eyebrows and angered many over the years, I think everyone can agree on this: Spring break cannot come soon enough.

Sure, this mantra has been heard in prior years, but it is hard to believe that it was truer before than it is now. It seems like the most common consideration in classes this week was whether that big assignment or test was before the break or after. Understanding the gravity of deciding the timing of such events in students’ lives, I suggest that, in keeping with historical annotations of B.C.E and C.E., the month of March be divided into B.S.B. and A.S.B. (Before Spring Break and After Spring Break).

So why are students so ready for this break to get underway? Call me a simpleton, but the weather has something to do with it. This time of year in Florida reminds me why Major League Baseball teams migrate here. The sun has made its predictable return, and Tampa has yet to experience the oppressive humidity the summer months will bring.

Unfortunately for college students, this means that it is just plain hard to get to class. Enjoy some outdoor sports or be held hostage in the closed in environment of a classroom? Kudos must be given to those instructors and professors who have blended class and climate to enjoy discussions outside Cooper Hall.

Another reason spring break is more important this year is that students have succeeded in making their lives busier. Time overload is quite evident. People have cell phones that take pictures, play music and schedule. TiVo gives people the ability to record shows that there wasn’t time to watch in the first place. Hikes in housing prices, tuition and yes, even those parking permits, mean that many students have to work to afford a college education. Include studying and students are creatively packing more in a 24-hour period than should be allowed.

Next week is also about giving administrators, support staff, instructors and professors a break from college students. Students are collectively a “high-maintenance” group. They bring with them unique backgrounds, concerns and problems onto a campus where size dictates a necessary bureaucracy. Adding a little perspective, they spend a few years in college but eventually transition on in life, unlike university employees, who experience high stress levels, deadlines and special student needs year in and year out.

This spring break is the last for many students. Although my employer has graciously allowed me time off for a trip to the Northeast, the painful reminder is after college there will be no such thing as spring break. The job market doesn’t revolve around collegiate holidays, and even if those who have graduated make their way to Jamaica, Cancun or Panama City Beach, they may find that they just don’t fit in anymore.

I’m not saying spring break is without peril. For students, it is easy to enjoy this week a little too much and participate in activities that have negative consequences that may last a lifetime.

So everyone should enjoy spring break 2006 safely and realize that they deserve some time to relax. True, there will only be seven weeks left in the semester when everyone returns, but recharging both physically and mentally will put each person in a better position to finish those A.S.B. assignments.