Ahh, fall break... I love it so much. It gives my mind a MUCH needed break from anything school related.
Honestly, before attending Oberlin, I had no idea that a “fall break” even existed. I just had to grind through ALL the schoolwork I had in October. There was no week-long break for me to enjoy during the autumn when the weather’s getting cooler and the leaves are falling faster. Other than relieving stress for both students and instructors, there was never a reason to have an extended period of time off during October. I may have had a Monday or two off, but a week? An entire week? That was unheard of... until now. That idea seemed odd to me, but who am I to complain about time away from school? I would always have winter break, spring break, and holidays off in high school, but I never had a fall break, so this is a nice little change up from my past experiences. After all, it feels much deserved, ESPECIALLY after the dreadful week of midterms that Obies cram and stress over every fall semester.
It’s fitting that fall break follows the week of midterms, because the stress that students receive from midterms is absolutely unbearable for a lot of them to deal with.
This week is a time of recovery for every single Obie who endured the anxiety and pressure that comes with the heavy workload from school. As an English major, I can be the first person to tell you that our professors LOVE to place paper deadlines during the week of midterms. I mean, it makes perfect sense. If I were in a professor’s shoes, I would schedule a heavy workload for the week before fall break as well. Why wouldn’t I? There’s an entire week of relaxation that follows! If we’re going to have an entire week off, we might as well receive a lot of work. It makes fall break THAT much sweeter at the end of the day. Let’s remember this as well: Obies are notorious for overworking themselves. It’s normal to literally feel an anxious study environment at Oberlin College. It doesn’t matter if you go to the Mudd library or the science center. The intensity is going to be there, because midterms could either create a positive or negative impact on students’ grades. I recognize this intensity from my peers (and myself) all the time. We work, work, and work until our brains explode, because we are perfectionists. That’s who we are. This break allows Obies to relax and get their batteries recharged. Some of them go back home. Some of them travel to a city they have never been to before. Some have to stay on campus for the entire break. Unfortunately, that’s the category I’m in. Because I’m a football player, I have to stay on campus. Those are the circumstances for most student athletes who play during the fall semester.
I have to stay on campus during fall break, and that has its pros and cons.
Staying in Obieland does have its pros. Trust me. It’s not all bad, especially when you’re surrounded by people you enjoy. Since my entire football team is here on break with me, I am able to enjoy the company of my teammates whenever I get bored with whatever I am doing. I do have friends who aren’t athletes on campus, and we’re able to hang out whenever we don’t have to invest our time in our priorities. Aside from entertainment, living here could be a challenge, especially when necessities like food are limited with the dining halls being closed. Fortunately for student athletes, we get meal cards that allow us to eat food in town. The cards can really be used for anything, as long as they aren’t being used to carry out dumb ideas that have major consequences to them. I won’t be participating in any of that, so I’m excited to see how I use my card. Last year, I thought I was living a little too well with the card, and I overspent on a lot of meals. I’d be spending fifteen to twenty dollars on one meal just because I could, and that money started to add up rather quickly. I still managed to have enough to make it through the week, but fall break could have ended really badly if I had to spend some of my own money on food. I know that non-student athletes have to spend their own money for fall break, so if they can endure that, then I have to recognize how grateful I should be for the school providing the meal cards for us.
Since I’m spending the break here on campus, what’s on my fall break schedule this year?
I’m going to focus on spending my time wisely during this useful break. Football requires me to go to lifts, meetings, and practices this week, so that will take up quite a bit of time. When I’m not focusing on football, I’ll be focused on getting ahead in my academics. A lot of people don’t recognize this great opportunity to get ahead on work, because they are dedicating the entire time to relaxation. I totally understand that, so I definitely don’t judge people who do that. Honestly, I’ve even done that for at least one of the past fall breaks I’ve experienced. It was nice and all, but I regret not investing the time I had. Time is more valuable than we realize, and it will FLY by whenever you don’t take advantage of it. I’m not saying that you should work extremely hard to get ahead during fall break. That’s not what I would advise at all. That would defeat the purpose of de-stressing during the week. What I’m saying is that it wouldn’t hurt to get a little bit of schoolwork done throughout the week. Maybe you could get an assignment or two done. Maybe you could start working on that final paper that’s due at the end of the semester so that you won’t be overly stressed with a long paper by then. It’s important to see the power that comes with time. Fall break is the perfect opportunity to see that. You could spend a couple of hours getting a lot more done than you would if you were doing something unproductive like playing a video game. I promise you, Fortnite will still be there when you’re done getting your schoolwork done. Other than getting work done and playing football, I really do plan on relaxing my mind and body. It has been a hectic month for me, so I plan on investing this time in myself and making sure that I don’t go crazy on this campus. I’m totally kidding... Kind of.