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To be productive or not to be?

By Kim Halpin
On February 14, 2013

With spring break around the corner you've got an invitation to go on a cruise to the Bahamas but also have lots of work for classes and job searches to do. It's the great debate of to go or not to go?
The benefits of staying local can be very rewarding. Resisting the trip allows for more time for working on job or internship applications and sending follow up emails to companies. This might help to show the company that you are a responsible candidate by passing up the vacation now in order to invest in your future employment. Also, at a time when many of your fellow student workers are looking for time off, you have the opportunity of picking up extra shifts leading to more rather than less money in your bank account.
The week can help you to get a hand up on those term papers and projects that can sneak up on students after the break is over. Spending even just one day of your break being devoted to schoolwork can ease your workload and stress during the final weeks of the semester.
One specific way that UConn students like to stay productive during spring break is by going on alternative breaks through Community Outreach. As defined by the Community Outreach page on the Student Activities website, alternative breaks "are service-learning experiences designed to heighten participants' awareness of critical social issues, enhance their individual growth, and prepare them for lifelong social action." They allow students to get off campus while still providing productive service for citizens that need it. 4th-semester PNB major Augustyna Gogoj says she's going on such a trip this year, "to broaden [her] cultural horizons without being a tourist."
Even though students realize the benefits from staying home and being productive, many also feel that spring break should be just that, a break. There is a significant amount of pressure on students during the academic year from classes, extracurricular activities and jobs. Getting away for just a couple of days can help keep students from the end of semester burn out.
For students like Katie Histen, a graduate student in the physical therapy program, spring break is a chance to recharge your batteries.
"I just need a chance to relax with friends," she says, "in a place that isn't cold and windy all the time." There's nothing like sitting on a beach to fight the wintertime blues.
Going away with friends is also a great way to spend time with friends that students have from other universities. Spring break supplies a week when most everyone is available and can get together, which can be nearly impossible to coordinate in the middle of the semester.
Students might also get a chance to visit friends who are studying abroad around the world where they can be introduced to different worldviews that they could not learn about from being in Storrs, Conn. Going over spring break ensures that students won't be missing class time and is therefore a preferable option over going during the semester.
Ultimately, students need to use their best judgment because they know what works best for them. A break now might help academic performance because students feel refreshed. Alternatively, there may be projects or activities that require attention now in order to ensure their success later.

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