Hello from New Haven, where I have returned after two entire weeks of spring break. That’s right–FIFTEEN DAYS of no class and no homework. Yale is unusual for its generosity in time off. I’ve had friends who attend other schools say to me (perhaps out of deep-seated bitterness?), “That’s too much time for a break. Won’t you forget all your academics?” To which I say, “Yes!”
Beautiful Seattle, where I spent most of my break!
Just kidding. Kind of. However, in this essay I will argue that Yale gives us two weeks off because students do so much that they need it. Improv and acapella groups typically tour during spring break. These tours usually take about a week, if not more. My improv group was in Seattle for six days and we ran into an acapella group there that had just returned from touring in Iceland. The Yale Daily News sends students on reporting trips and religious or cultural affinity groups sometimes organize alternative spring break trips to do service. Last year, Yale Hillel and La Casa Cultural Center teamed up to help with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Because a large number of Yale students choose to participate in these Yale-affiliated week-long trips, giving us a single week would mean there wouldn’t be that much time to take a real break from the university.
Some of Just Add Water hanging out in Eliot Bay Books.
In the additional week off, we can lounge around, see our families, catch up on our work, hang out with our home friends, and generally take a breath. One of my favorite things about Yale is that, while there’s always room for improvement, the administration seems to give real thought to the well-being of its students. You could argue that it’s all a ploy to get our brains to recharge so that we work even harder when we return, thus fuelling the Yale machine at a previously unthinkable rate, but I like to imagine that a two-week spring break is exactly what it seems to be: a gift.