Sydney Brummel—Staff Writer
As senior nursing major Hannah Burgsma returned from nannying on Wednesday, Oct. 6, she looked forward to how she could spend the upcoming Heartland break, beginning the following morning. She considered going to the Omaha Zoo, finding fun activities in Sioux Center, or even making a quick visit back to her home in Canada. What she did not plan on was her roommates convincing her to go to Chicago as they packed the car to leave. Ten minutes later, Burgsma hopped in her roommate’s car and departed for Illinois, backpack packed and no idea what would happen next.
While in Chicago, Burgsma and her roommates explored a bit of the city, visited the Bean, ordered from the famous Starbucks Reserve Roastery, and watched the sunrise from a beach of Lake Michigan. The group also stopped in Pella on the way there and back to break up the drive.
“It was super fun,” Burgsma said. “It was also good to have time to go to a physical place that was different than campus.”
Burgsma and her roommates were several of many students who took advantage of this break by leaving campus. Some went home to their families, visited other cities out-of-state, or simply enjoyed relaxing activities around the Northwest Iowa area.
Like many other students at Dordt University, Burgsma shared that, although she did not realize it at the time, she needed a rest from the rigorous routine of classes and other school-related responsibilities.
“It was good to be thinking about something other than school,” Burgsma said. “Stepping away from campus helps you come back to it with a new perspective and start fresh.”
Burgsma talked to her peers on campus, seeing how they experienced this mid-semester break. Most students agreed that the two days off were not only helpful, but also necessary.
“They all looked pretty tired,” Burgsma said. “A lot of people had a bunch of things leading up to break so I think a lot of people really appreciated it.”
This year’s fall break—often referred to as Heartland or Tri-State—differed significantly from last year’s. Due to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration’s desire to keep all students in one place, there was no long weekend for students to break up the fall semester. Instead, there was a single day of no classes on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.
Last year, Burgsma and her friend went to Town Square coffee shop in Orange City and spent the majority of the 14th studying for an exam they had the next day in pharmacology. Later, she had supper with another friend off campus. With classes starting at 8:00 a.m. the next day, Burgsma had very little time to truly appreciate a pause from her busy semester.
“It definitely wasn’t a break from school,” Burgsma said. “In a real break you have at least a couple of days to rest so that you don’t have to study your entire break.”
As Dordt enters into the second half of the semester, students can agree it’s good to have Heartland back.
“A few days is good for students to decompress; to truly get a new perspective and fresh and come back ready to tack the rest of the semester until Thanksgiving,” Burgsma said.