Avoid Overbreakitis

Spring Break is fast approaching at my university, which means that the urge to put work off “until break” can increase.

It’s an easy trap. Today’s college students, taking full course loads on top of 40-hour-per-week-or-more work schedules and caring for families, struggle to find the time to Do It All. When professors accept late work in the spring semester, it’s tempting to keep pushing those assignments to the bottom of the pile.

“I’ll catch up over spring break,” we tell ourselves. “This paper is due tomorrow, and this other project can wait.”

But then break comes around. It’s Spring Break, after all. It’s a vacation. Catching up on sleep, catching up with friends and loved ones, getting some extra work hours in, spending time on the beach — who has time for school? And the to-do list is so long, it’s kind of depressing. Besides, Isn’t it somehow illegal to do school work during Spring Break? How dare a professor give a reading assignment anyway…

Sunshine, freedom, and righteous indignation can blind us to the simple fact: work needs to be done. It isn’t going away. It’s going to get worse as final projects and exams start up.

So check your “I’ll get to it over Spring Break” list. Are you setting yourself up for overbreakitis?

My current Spring Break tasks:

  1. grade late work and midterm exams / post midterm grades between Friday, March 8 and Tuesday, March 11
  2. finish one article
  3. work on another rough draft
  4. revise a final exam
  5. work on program assessment

I could be working on everything except 1 and 4 and to some extent 5 right now, but because I have a conference proposal to write and another article that I’m writing at the moment, I made the conscious decision to put two specific projects during the week of “break,” which really means 5 days I don’t have to go to campus and teach. I’ll probably be on campus for meetings that aren’t on that list yet because I don’t know about them yet!

Yes, I will work the entire Spring Break. My break will look a lot like this:

desk with two computers

CC licensed photo from Ádám Marácz, http://ow.ly/tZSj5

When you ask me, “how was your break?” I will answer, hopefully, “I got a lot of work done.”


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