Studying Over School Breaks Will Reduce Stress

studying Justin Adams

For some students, there’s nothing better than sitting back during school breaks with some friends, family and a couple scary movies, not having to worry about homework or essays. I’m not one of those students.

There are students (such as myself) who get antsy during school breaks because we don’t have anything to do. Over fall break I got a slight head start on my homework, wrote an article for this paper, did some laundry and other chores and slept about 10 hours every day. And I still found myself feeling bored.

During breaks many students take the opportunity to camp while it’s still warm outside, or ski if it’s not. But you know what’s happening to the people who make a habit of avoiding homework or productive activities over breaks? They’re messing up their sleeping patterns, by procrastinating and then cramming in homework that’s suddenly due in two days, and ultimately wishing the break could last a little longer.

This is why we should make it a point to do homework over short breaks. I’m not advocating that professors give students a 10-page essay to write or have them finish an entire module on canvas during a break — I’m just encouraging students to use time off to get ahead. It’s really difficult and exhausting to go from partying like there’s no tomorrow one day and then having to wake up early, go back to work and school and do homework the next.

Motivation is the most powerful thing anyone can have. It gives us the strength and energy we need to succeed. And while relaxation is a vital part of mental health, getting into the habit of relaxing is motivationally draining. Even though there’s no greater motivation than the stress of a deadline, waiting until the last minute and being in a constant state of stress is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves. I learned this the hard way during high school. I would never do homework during holiday breaks and deeply regret it when it was time to go back.

Breaks are for family and friends and oneself. Doing loads of homework during breaks can make one feel burnt out, but it will benefit everyone to take some time to catch up or get ahead so that when the break ends and we have to drag ourselves back to reality, we’re not left hoping fruitlessly for a longer break.

When teachers assign you homework over fall break, they’re forcing you to use your break the way you should. A break is meant to give you the gift of time, and it should be used wisely. Work today so you can party tomorrow. Party today and you’ll be hating the work tomorrow.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu