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Fall Break: A Much-Needed Reprieve

By Laura Buchanan
On October 9, 2018

6:25 a.m.

A groan escapes my lips and I find myself having to give a mental pep talk just to open my eyes. It is only Monday, and already I feel as if the week has stretched on far too long.

 

From the time I wake up until the time I go to bed, I am juggling roles – work, school, taking care of kids and being a homeowner. This is exhausting and yet I’ve been doing it so long that it feels normal. However, it does not mean that all the necessary tasks have gotten easier.

Like most students, I have many late nights, but the problem comes when there isn’t a day where I can sleep until I am completely rested. During the weekends, my “free time” is spent at Wal-Mart where I work in the pharmacy – a highly focused and customer-facing position. This is a position that can easily leave someone mentally and physically exhausted. In the midst of these two straightforward obligations is the role of a mother– a constant time-consuming position.

 

7:15 a.m.

For starters, I take my children to school, then return to prepare for the rest of my routine. Most days, this will be the last time I see my kids and my home until I return that night. Though my kids are older, two in high school and one away at college, this doesn’t mean they need me less. There are marching band competitions, school events to attend, traveling arrangements and financial needs which need tending to.

 

9 a.m. – 3p.m.

For the bulk of the day I am a full-time student. This is becomes the best part of my day because it is organized, focused and calm. However, when I leave campus my head is filled with tasks and many assignments that need completed before the day is over.

 

Though we have a long weekend for Labor Day, it is too early in the start of the fall semester for the break to give much reprieve. In years past, Concord University had a fall break early in October. This provided a 4-day weekend, which allowed students to catch a breath from the non-stop juggling act. While I used the time to catch up on school work or do the bulk of my research for papers, the break allowed for these tasks to be done in a less frantic mode.

Unfortunately, this year Concord chose to remove fall break. Thus, between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, the non-stop race to survive continues uninterrupted. The days simply do not have enough hours as I juggle assignments with other obligations. It only takes one factor being removed to lighten the load, but this year there will not be any.

My oldest daughter, who received fall break, was given an opportunity to come home. There is not anything that would make me happier than knowing all my children were all under one roof again. As a mother, it is heartbreaking knowing that the University has deprived other families of this reunion with the elimination of fall break.

For commuters like myself, the break also means extra gas in the fuel tank and a reprieve from the endless trek down the road. There is an exhaustion factor of driving back and forth each day of classes. Though Concord is only 15 minutes from my residence, the five-day-a-week drive makes a dent in fuel costs.

Overall, Fall Break is exactly that – a break. We all need them, traditional and non-traditional, old and young. Life gets so busy and time consuming that all one needs is just a small break in order to keep going. Hopefully, Concord will revisit the concept of a fall break and reinstate it. Some may view it as unnecessary, but for the mental and physical well-being of the students, a fall break is much needed.

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