It’s time to put the break back in spring break


Mollie Shiflett ’26 is an undecided major who will probably end up majoring in History. She plays on the Gold Women’s Club Soccer team for the College of William and Mary and is an avid fan of most sports, except golf. Email Mollie at

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.

To quote Sophia Petrillo from “The Golden Girls,” “Picture it.” While I’m not going to start telling a story about Sicily, I will tell a story about breaks — spring break to be exact. The purpose of this article is not for me to whine, although that will definitely be a portion of it. 

During spring break a couple of weeks ago, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing: I was taking a break. I was in my room at home after getting back from a five day trip in Savannah, Ga. It was about 11:00 p.m. on the Saturday before the restart of classes, and my family was planning to leave my house at 5:00 a.m. the next day so that we could get back in time for my sister’s work shift. This is when I got a ping from my Outlook email. It was a notification from Blackboard reminding me of my 800 word precís, take-home quiz and paper that were all due the week directly following spring break. 

It’s not about the difficulty of the assignments. Instead, it’s the principle of them even being assigned that I object to. By its name, spring break should actually involve a break. If I had done all of my assignments that were due the first few days I got back to the best of my ability, I would have had about three days of a break, which isn’t even enough time for me to correct my sleep schedule, much less recover from my midterms. 

This brings up two questions that need to be answered: Is spring break just not long enough? Or are professors being unrealistic in their expectations?

To the first question: I wouldn’t necessarily mind having spring break be two weeks long. Anytime that I can sleep until noon is good for me. However, it brings with it two problems. One, unlike winter break, spring break is in the middle of the semester, so if it was made two weeks long, I’d probably forget how to do school even more than I did over the course of a week. Two, it would push our already later-than-normal last day of classes and graduation dates even farther back, and I genuinely think that once May hits, we should depart Williamsburg as quickly as possible to avoid the humidity. 

This brings us to the second question: are the professors being unrealistic? For me, the answer has to be yes. If we can’t make spring break two weeks long, then it is up to the professors to ensure that their students are suitably recharged. However, making their students write papers and study for exams doesn’t recharge anyone. While this article is not designed to be an attack on professors, I do believe that they are so invested in their own schedules that they sometimes forget that students have other classes that they need to do work for, so they all give us something, and all of those somethings add up to too much.

We’re all grown-ups, so I’m not advocating for professors to hold our hands when we get back from spring break. Instead, it’s more about the types of assignments. If you need to assign something, make it due the second class after we get back from spring break. However, it would be better if written assignments such as long essays are due the weeks after you get back, since a writer’s perspective is one of the hardest to get back into. Having more minor assignments following spring break would let students gradually wade back into using their brains again so that they don’t get any stress shocks like the ones that we have been experiencing up to this point.

Some professors may say that that belief runs contrary to their job descriptions — students need to stay on schedule and if that involves some unfortunate deadlines, so be it. However, I would argue that they should be a little more lenient so that the overall quality of the work improves. After all, most students probably aren’t going to be doing work over spring break, so all professors are doing by insisting on these deadlines is subjecting themselves to punishment when they have to start grading those essays or assignments. If they push deadlines back a week, students will produce work of a higher caliber, which should be the goal of all professors: to make sure that their students can put forward their best work. 

However, the most important argument is one that we must return to: breaks are supposed to be breaks. Allowing any professor to assign work that infringes on that rest is nothing but an act of disrespect against the students of this institution. If you are going to assign a paper over a break, or a test that is due right when students get back, you are basically deciding for them. You are saying that they don’t deserve or just can’t have a break that we all desperately need, especially given our stress culture. At the very least, we have earned a break after working so hard during the first seven weeks of the semester. 

Making students do work over break isn’t fair to anyone. It deprives students of their opportunity to hit the reset button or even to have the opportunity to enjoy themselves because all they are doing when they are at the beach is thinking about the paper that they need to go and start writing. It subjects professors to reading work that will inevitably be done in an even more haphazard, disorganized and lazy way than it would even be done normally because, again, any work done during spring break will be inherently subpar due to students’ motivation being at nil. Why should we continue to make ourselves part of this practice that doesn’t bring out the best in either party? 

It’s time to put the break back in spring break.


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