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The Value of Spring Break!

 
Mr. Richard Lorenc's picture

Reflections on time well spent during Spring Breaks…

Trying to come up with a topic for my blog during midterm exam week has been difficult.  First, I had to find the time to do it.  But alas, with spring supposedly just around the corner, I decided to reflect on how I spent my time on Spring Break during my undergraduate days at Illinois State University. 

Back in the day, my hair was long (not short), my hair was blonde (not gray) and my main concern was how to get enough money to travel south for nine days and get back to college in time for classes.   At my age, it is difficult to get into the heads of current students whose ages range from eighteen to twenty-two.  Yet, I believe their thoughts are similar to what I was thinking at that age, probably worrying about cramming for upcoming exams and papers.   And of course, what to do during a well-deserved spring break.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Florida back in the day.  My freshman year, I rode in a bus from ISU to Daytona for thirty dollars.  Then, I jumped on another bus and rode to Fort Lauderdale for seven dollars and fifty cents.  Wow, how times change.  My days were spent on Deerfield Beach and the nights were spent further south in Miami on South Beach with around thirty thousand other snowbirds who chose to escape the Midwest weather and get a break from studies. 

Now days, I find myself spending my break-time catching up on grading, doing some reading and once in awhile traveling south to spend time having some fun in the sun, spending time on the beach, golfing and fishing.

After Spring Break, I always felt refreshed and fortunate to have had the time to recharge my batteries.   I think it is extremely important for students to travel or just find some peace and serenity doing nothing consequential.  This downtime allows us to meditate, reflect on our behaviors and choices and hopefully to relax, clear our minds, reduce our stress and dream of future opportunities.  If not during spring break, when do we have the time to do so--schoolwork, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities etc? 

According to an Inside Science report accessed on March 4, 2015 at http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/vacations-2011, time-off improves productivity and reduces stress.  Primary care physician Natasha Withers from One Medical Group in New York says taking time off helps to decrease the risk of heart disease and improves reaction times. She says that relaxation, and stress reductions are very important for people's well-being and health. This can be accomplished through daily activities, such as exercise and meditation, but vacation is an important part of this as well.

"We also know that the mind is very powerful and can help with healing, so a rested, relaxed mind is able to help the body heal better," said Withers.

Psychologists echo the value of vacations for the mind. "The impact that taking a vacation has on one's mental health is profound," said Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who specializes in stress and relationship management. "Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out."

An Expedia survey found 45 percent of Americans agreed that "they come back to work feeling rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected to their personal life" after vacation, and 35 percent said "they return from vacation feeling better about their job and feeling more productive."

Therefore, my advice to college students is to take time off; after all, it really is your choice on how to spend your precious time.  Do some traveling before you get bogged down with career duties, family responsibilities etc.  Some of my fondest memories are about the times I spent traveling alone or with friends during spring break. Just do it…

P.S.  By the way, back in 1969, it only cost sixty dollars for me to fly back to Illinois on standby…almost in time for classes.   Peace!

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