Homework over fall break tastes horrible

By Lucas Oswald, Columnist

Thanksgiving break approaches swiftly. You have battled procrastination and idleness all semester. You have dutifully completed all of your reading assignments; you have studied long hours for your midterms; and you have written many papers. You are exhausted and weary, and you feel like a plum that has been squeezed until only a dry, wrinkled prune remains.

The week-long break is a welcome respite from the ceaseless onslaught of homework, and it is the only thing keeping your engine puffing. If you can just make it another few days, all of your problems will melt away. You can already feel your soft bed. You can smell the freedom and you can taste the turkey.

Then your professor smacks you in the face with an essay due the Monday after break. Suddenly, your bed is as hard as stone, your freedom gives way to shackles and your turkey turns to ash in your mouth.

Am I being dramatic? Absolutely not! Homework of any kind over break is an abomination.

Not a single moment of the semester have you fully been able to relax. There was always some test to study for, some thesis to write, some reading to finish or some assignment to do.

Even on the Friday evenings playing cards with your friends, or the Saturday nights spent hitting up the bars, the work has always been there, flitting around the outskirts of your thoughts, threatening to swoop in at any moment and rob you of your fun.

This beautiful week was your chance to finally, fully relax, without the constant call of responsibility to remind you of your duties as a student.

And now, it’s all ruined.   

You might say you have nine days to rest, so a few hours wasted on an assignment is a cakewalk. But in reality, it isn’t the few hours spent doing the assignment that’s hard. It’s the idea you have some requirement during your time away — it’s the idea that’s going to be gnawing on you the whole break, always in the back of your mind, never fully allowing you to unwind.

Even as you sleep in your soft bed, even as you exercise your newly acquired freedom, even as you stuff yourself with stuffing, you won’t ever be able to truly forget your assignments.   

There’s a certain sanctity in Thanksgiving break in that it brings your family together. For one of the few times a year, you get to see Uncle Joe and Aunt Bethany. You get to hold your baby cousin for the first time. You get to tell Grandma June how your college experience is going.

During these precious moments, you shouldn’t have to be thinking about how much you don’t want to read that 300-page novel for your English class. This time is reserved for family, and you don’t get much of it.

So when you do get the chance to watch your cousin Hank eat a whole honeyed ham by himself, or listen to Great Aunt Nunu tell stories about her rebellious phase during 1947, it shouldn’t be clouded by the vast amount of homework you have to complete before returning to school. That’s not important right then.

On top of this, you haven’t had a day off since Labor Day and not a moment of peace since the summer. Weekends didn’t count for anything. Though you don’t have classes, you spent your Saturdays and Sundays slaving away in the library, countless hours devoted to studying.

You deserve a week of calm, a small hiatus from school to recharge those depleted batteries just in time for finals. Assignments during this break don’t allow this necessary interval, and as such, become counterproductive to the whole concept of Thanksgiving “break.”

Professors, please. Don’t give us work to do this week. We work hard all semester long. We need this to be an actual break, a clean separation from the stress of our school lives. Otherwise, we’ll lose our minds and burn ourselves out before we can even enter the workforce.

Lucas is a junior in LAS.

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