By Olivia Drake
Michele Morgan, a school psychologist at the University of Southern California, has observed the stress rates in students rise as the end of the semester draws near. She says it is important that they don’t push themselves past their limit.
“Allow me to paint a metaphor,” Morgan said. “A computer is asked to retain a lot of information, and process thousands and thousands of words every day. A computer gets put to sleep for a short amount of time before it needs to instantly start back up and do it all again. Eventually there comes a time for the computer to fully shut down and rest its fans and applications. In all of these ways, a student is similar to the computer—and similarly, they both need that time for rest.”
She continued, “A break is absolutely necessary for man and machine. Often times, students forget that they are not in fact made of gears and circuit boards, and they run at maximum capacity for longer than their health can handle. That’s why Thanksgiving break is so important for students when class expectations are reaching their peak of the semester.”
Whether it’s by traveling home for the holidays or staying close to campus, everyone discovers the importance of a break from early rises and crippling deadlines. Some students need to recharge their batteries, and some just need a touch of home love.
Helena Richter, a child development major, 21, says she definitely caught the homesickness this fall semester.
“Being away from my dog Bailey never gets any easier. I want this break to come faster every year,” Richter said. “Just give me my dog and… I’m set.”
She and her best friend Julia Maples travel home together every holiday, and are thankful to finally have a taste of vacation. Maples, 24, says she has also felt the sting of the semester while scraping together the last of her oceanography work for her major.
“I graduate this spring and it feels like the work is never-ending,” Maples said with a tired laugh. “I’ve been wound so tight this month, it’s really awful. Whens the part when I can sleep?!”
Meanwhile, forestry major Kevin Lancaster, 25, appreciates the simpler pleasures of being at home.
“After sitting in that cafeteria every night for almost four months, I just want my mom’s food and that Thanksgiving turkey,” he said.
Not only is the break used for decompression, but for preparation as well. Once students finally achieve a pause in their busy schedules, they’re allowed to create a plan of action for the last couple weeks of the semester. Once the post-break deadlines start creeping back up on everyone, they’ll be prepared to cross the finish line and end the 2013 year on a high note.
English major Daniel Schaefer, 22, claims that he’s “pumped” to forge through the stressful workload.
“There are battles I’ve yet to face, but by God I’m ready to take them head on and fight my way to the end of this hellish fall,” Schaefer said charismatically.
It is now the final stretch of the season. Lorrie Schaefer, mother of Daniel, advises a balance of hard work and rest. “It is highly encouraged for the students to give it all they’ve got, while also remembering to recharge every once in a while,” she said.