Yes, I myself dread spring-break. I really do. When I was an undergraduate, spring-break literally and figuratively meant a BREAK. No homework, no readings, no nothing! Break was all about the beaches, drinks, and Netflix. You honestly did your best to break, and forget about academics for a week. But the golden days of truly “breaking” for spring-break are over once you enter grad school. Now, its about strategically using your time.
I know I sound somewhat depressing, but it really is true. Once you become a grad student, there is no such thing as breaks. This is especially true if you are a first and second-year grad student (some would argue that breaks do not exist during your entire time in grad-school). Instead, you should treat any kind of break for what they really are in grad school—a time to catch up on work and start preparing for your papers.
But don’t forget to take time out for yourself! For example, during spring-break I plan to go to St. Louis for the weekend. For me, this is an essential thing to do because you are able to leave town and more importantly, leave grad school mindset for a couple of days. That way you get the best of both worlds; a couple of days to relax and then grind down on your work once you are back. Therefore, most of my time during the break will be devoted to preparing for finishing this semester. I will start working on my master’s thesis, finishing up some of the remaining class assignments for the semester and whatever needs to be done to get ahead.
This of course is not the ideal scenario for anyone. But quite frankly, I have truly learned how to take advantage of breaks to make my life in grad school run smoother. Of course, you have to take a short break from reality in order to get rejuvenated. But the majority of your break should really be about using time wisely in order to get ahead. And one of the main key for success in grad school is planning ahead. Planning for breaks will allow you to do exactly that. So please have fun, but also gain some productive advantage over Spring Break, so you come back to work recharged and in a prime position to wrap up the semester strong!!! Momentum is another important component of success in this line of work.