Breaking out of the break mentality

Grant Rayfield, News Editor

Have you ever gone on a long vacation over the summer only to return home and, upon realizing that chores and/or homework still needs to be done proceeded to do absolutely nothing?  If so, you could count yourself typical among many people (myself included) who sometimes find switching back into work-mode right after you have just become accustomed to relaxation to be very difficult, if not impossible.

Procrastination, as this would normally be called, would hardly be considered an uncommon thing, but for many of us, long breaks only make it worse.  For example, even though it has been more than a week since the end of Mid-winter Break, many of us have still not returned to the level of effort we put into our schoolwork before break.

Some would say that this merely suggests a flaw in character, or a fault in our stars, but I believe that this just highlights the difficulties of switching between two very different ways of managing time and work, which schools themselves have not necessarily helped prevent.

For myself at least, when I’m in the middle of a productive week of school, I find myself living in the moment, just trying to beat that next tedious assignment and get on to something I find more interesting or directly valuable.  But when school gets out for a break – even just a week long break like the one that just passed – my mentality shifts and short periods of time start mattering less.  This doesn’t make me less productive in the long run, as it is during breaks that I tend to compose piano music and write my own books, but this mentality is incompatible with the short-term work that pervades the high school atmosphere.

Although I’m not entirely sure what should be done about this on a curriculum level, but for individual students, it means that remaining in the short-term mentality over break may be important for effective work, or otherwise it may be necessary to replace week-long breaks with a larger number of four-day weekends.  These would be just long enough to allow for relief from the stress of high school, but not so long that one becomes less productive.  Unfortunately, this would also discourage travel during breaks, but I personally believe that it is more important to maintain academic perseverance than it is to allow for occasional jaunts off to our favorite places to relax.