The break after breaks

Mallory Nilles –– Staff writer

It’s no secret that professors and students alike live for breaks. In the two weeks before that blissful escape into an alternate reality (life outside of university), we hear about it every day. We talk about what we’re doing over break. For some, it’s exciting: a trip to Florida or Texas to do things you can’t on Dordt’s dry, holy campus. For others, it’s…less exciting: work. Regardless of how it’s spent, break seems to be a double-edged sword.

On break, it feels like we can maybe, finally have that sabbath everyone is talking about without feeling the overwhelming weight that comes with the anxiety of potentially falling behind in classes. But it takes a minimum of five to seven business days for us to get out of our fight or flight response, checking Canvas a minimum of eight times per day. When we do take that break, when we rest and travel and experience new things, we’re bombarded with assignments the minute we return. We have tests in the same week over content we weren’t supposed to touch over break (not cool).

If you weren’t filled with existential dread about your future before, you are now. As the break ends, the panic sets in as another year of college wraps up. You’re left wondering where the time went, yet it felt like every day dragged on while you were in it. You freak out over scheduling. Will you graduate on time, or will you spend another $40K because someone fumbled the bag on which classes you needed to take for your degree and future?

You may have thought you were at your limit before. But you’ve reached a new threshold (like the circles in Dante’s Divine Comedy), and you have two options: buckle-up—and hope this rickety roller coaster doesn’t fall apart screw by screw—or quit. Don’t get me wrong. I love breaks. But breaks don’t seem to love me, and I’m not alone in this. We are burned out. While break gives us, well, a break, it also brutally reminds us of all that’s left to do. Dordt University, please send help (in the form of an on-campus cat shelter).

Cheers to finishing this semester strong. I’m not saying that I will, but it seemed an appropriate rally cry after spiraling downward writing an article I postponed until the night before it’s due. I have hope for you, though. May your burden be light. May the wind not eat your face. May the snow melt without making your white shoes grey. May the return of sunlight make you feel like life is tolerable once again.

And if not, just finish. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

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