1. Spring break isn’t a break if it is only one week: How many times did friends from home ask what you were doing for both weeks of spring break? Any offer to visit during one of their weeks that doesn’t overlap with yours? October break has Thanksgiving on the horizon. Intersession makes its happy appearance after an unscheduled month of reading period and exams, and spring break.... Well, we only have a meager eight weeks before summer begins and real work begins — internships, fellowships, junior paper, and thesis research — an eight weeks that will fly by, right?
2. By the time you recover from midterms week (read: sleeping in, binge-watching Netflix, snacking), your one week of break is already half over: Mental recovery takes time. Depending on the individual, this varies greatly. After the grueling week of midterms (and seeing your grades for the first time), a few days of sleep, good food, and binge-reading Princeton’s meme page are required in order to overcome your fear of the “real” world.
3. Speaking of recovering, there are still midterms due during (and after) break: We all breathe a sigh of relief when our professors tell us that our midterm papers won’t be due until after break. We nod along with Cheshire-cat grins as they say, “This way, you can choose when you want to write it.” But is there ever a choice, really? Circumspectly, we tell ourselves we will commit to writing over break, and still find ourselves procrastinating (or, perhaps taking a long-deserved break is a better way of phrasing it) until the last few days. Every day that we don’t begin writing, we recommit to working a twinge of guilt reminding us that we shouldn’t be relaxing and we still have work to do. Finally, we succumb to the pressure and jump in, realizing that if we had started it sooner, the paper(s) wouldn’t have been hanging over us all of break. Well, there’s always next time....
4. This is the time to “catch up on work before it’s too late”: With the realization that this is the last break before summer comes the realization that now that midterms are over, we are behind, and there is only one full month separating us from reading period. All the reading you were saving to catch up on over break? You thought it would be easy to find time to read. But it’s surprisingly difficult to fit copious pages of dry reading into a highly organized routine of Netflix, napping, snacking, and, dare I say, reading for fun.
5. Seniors are struggling to finish their theses: With the chatter of thesis boot camp echoing through the University’s gothic arches, the sudden disappearance of RCAs, and library spaces reserved for seniors, the time of year is upon us when seniors rush to finish (or start) their theses. It’s senior spring, of course, the last term they will spend on campus (if they finish their theses), but their time is consumed by this Herculean task that has been successfully procrastinated until now. What may have seemed like a cool idea when given thesis funding for summer research following junior year is, in reality, much more challenging.
6. It is actually several degrees colder when we come back to campus than when we left: Ah, New Jersey weather in “spring.” Highly unpredictable, often colder than we are willing to admit, not conducive to wearing cute flowery spring dresses or shorts, and one of the biggest selling points of why you should choose to go to Stanford. Well, too late for that decision now — guess it’s time to face the facts and accept that the end of spring break doesn’t mean you will “spring forward” into warmer weather.
7. Everyone else seems to travel to exotic locations: This one goes for a lot of breaks at Princeton (in fact, even most days). People always look like they are doing cooler things than you are. Somehow when I lounge around familiar territory checking my phone and nibbling on snacks, it feels like spring break is less of a break in comparative achievement and more like a social media competition of who can post the most (outrageous, provocative, curious, or hilarious) vacation pictures on Instagram. And while it may have been nice to go home for a little and relax, catching up on sleep and chatting with family, it wasn’t the Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico, or Spain. And it legitimately, undeniably, absolutely wasn’t the exotic break you dreamed it would be.