Mid-Fall Break

Austin Book

I am sick. The sickness started a little over a week ago, but it has built up throughout the year. I guess I should qualify that initial statement. The day after I returned from Thanksgiving break, I self-diagnosed myself with senioritis. I found myself prone to not paying attention, not doing anything, and being okay with these lousy habits. I am on the road to recovery, but I still have the rest of the year to go. I thought that Thanksgiving break might cure my oncoming “sickness”, but the break actually made it worse. Thanksgiving was the first break of the year since we started in early September. The gap between the start of the school year and Thanksgiving break is the longest gap of the year without a break. If we had a mid-fall break in between the start of the year and Thanksgiving break, students would be more ready to continually succeed at school.

  Senioritis is a serious problem that many seniors already understand. A lot of people who are not seniors argue that they also have senioritis. They do not. Senioritis doesn’t typically hit until seniors receive their acceptance letters from the colleges that they applied to. Once seniors receive the letters, they know the exact minimum amount of effort that they have to put into the rest of the year..

  Many seniors naturally start putting in less quality work just because they can. “I’ve been affected a little bit so far by senioritis. With scholarship essays and other stuff I get done, I don’t always have time for the rest of my work. I still get the majority of my stuff done, just not always on time,” Sr. McKenna Stam said.

  Procrastinating is a huge symptom of senioritis and Stam’s seemingly minor effects will only increase as the year progresses. A way to slow down senioritis is to give the seniors and the rest of the hardworking students of the school a break. The break would need to be near the end of October. I envision the break being labeled “mid-fall break” and it would be the counterpart to mmid-winter break. This would help numerous students, not limited to seniors, to catch up on school work with an extra long weekend. “I would love a break. Mid-winter break helps me a lot just with catching up on school work and you can get more stuff done. If we had something similar to that, it’d be nice,” Stam said. A mid-fall break would help students to catch up on their assignments and slow down the effects of senioritis.

  At the beginning of the school year, everyone gets a blank slate. Most students seize the opportunity of the blank slate by starting smart and taking advantage of their time. As the months pass, the initial, hard-working attitude slowly starts to fade. With an absence of a mid-fall break to serve as some much needed time off from the stresses of school, the cycle continues. “I try really hard at the beginning of the year. I study for everything. By Thanksgiving, I’m just kind of winging it,” Sr. Morgan Langworthy said. This “winging it” attitude does not stop after Thanksgiving – it follows students for the rest of the school year. The bad habits from first semester will carry onto second semester. “I think that the gap [between the start of the year and first break] is too long because a lot of people let their school work go and they stop trying because it’s so much of a gap. They just get tired,” Langworthy said. The gap is longer than it should be, and the effects of not having a break in between are only negative. It is time to finally stay strong until the end of the year. Adding a mid-fall break is a huge step for breaking the cycle.

  Many schools around the world have breaks around this time already. Of course, with programs such as year-round schooling, a break naturally falls about this time anyways. I do not propose that our school converts to year-round schooling – I propose that our school adopts a year-round school ideology which would add another break to even out the breaks throughout the school year. I think it is also completely fair to potentially add a few school days in June to make up for the lost time.

   It is not just year-round schooling that has breaks fall around this time. Some other schools in the country have a mid-fall break to avoid academic burnout. As unfortunate as it is, academic burnout is real. Students are only able to take so much. Sometimes, I hear students remark how they hope they get sick so that they have a legitimate excuse to miss school for a day or two. The concept of making up homework after they get back barely phases these students either. Burning out is hard to recover from. Thanksgiving break was not enough time for students to recover. We need a break to establish a more well-balanced school schedule and help avoid early academic burnout.

  Senioritis, slowly giving up, and completely burning out happen. When I was self-diagnosed with senioritis, I did something about it. I found the source. My initial symptoms arrived in late October when we should have had the fall break. Senioritis enlightened me on how maybe I’ve had a bit of this “senioritis” every year. Of course, those manifestations of senioritis were not as bad as the actual senioritis. But, academic burnout does not just apply to seniors. Since I’m a senior, the cycle is much less subtle due to the face connected to it. A mid-fall break would satiate my and everyone else’s want to reduce our academic burnout. Let’s fill the gap.