With spring break approaching, students this week are preparing for and taking midterm exams. Some professors, though, in place of midterms, have assigned students work or projects to complete over the break. Although the use of school recesses for review projects isn’t unheard of, some students oppose the idea, claiming it defeats the purpose of having a spring recess. The purpose of the distributed spring break assignments is to help sharpen the skills and information that students have developed during the beginning of the spring semester, and to ensure remembrance once they are back into the class routine.
Joshua Libal, a sophomore Business major with a minor in Music, said, “I don’t think there should be any work given during a break. That’s our time to relax! Giving work over break is like a continuation of school at home. Not to mention, many people go away!”
Others, though, believe it to be beneficial. Senior Annemarie Levakis, a Musical Theatre major, exclaimed, “Personally, I feel that if the work has to do with improving your skills in what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life, then it’s definitely a great idea to be productive over break. I also feel that the work shouldn’t be assigned. It should be up to the student to choose whether or not they’d like to do work over break.”
Although being forced to complete assignments over break is helpful in terms of reviewing and exercising the information we are given, it can often spare students a lot of review time once break is over. It would be much easier for everyone involved to encourage students to review their notes over break rather than giving out projects and work. A lot of students of course would not take part in this, but those that are serious about doing well will take the opportunity and others with have to make up for it once they’re back at school. Dr. Barbara Fowles, Chairperson of the Media Arts Department, said, “I used to think break was a good time to give a slightly more complex and interesting assignment, but I have learned that if students do assignments at all, they do them when they get back, in a rush. So I try to make minimal assignments- just enough so students have something to discuss in class when they return.”
As college students, it’s our responsibility to make sure we know the material. When professors enforce mandatory assignments over break, it becomes more of a drag and the students aren’t going to perform as well as usual. Dr. Fowles, by acknowledging this, allows her students space over break, and utilizes the next week back to reinforce the class material.
Personally, I don’t think we should be given work over break. As a designated time away from school, that should not involve assignments and projects. As I have written, the option for students to review their class notes and study over break is available to them if they would like. As long as professors honor this break and do not make it too difficult to follow along the week we come back, leaving the break free of scholarly priorities is only fair.