Should Winter Break Be Longer Every Year?


Photo taken on campus by Preston Banas.

The pandemic has made our lives as college students miserable in many ways. One thing that was positive from the 2020-2021 school year was the length of our winter break, which was a week longer than usual. During this break, I personally got to work on my hobbies of reading and writing while also being able to spend time with family and friends and destress my body and soul from school for a while. A longer winter break is beneficial for the mental and physical health of students. 

During the pandemic we have seen how our infrastructure for schooling as a whole is lacking. According to Erika Christakis who wrote, “School Wasn’t So Great Before COVID, Either” from The Atlantic, “Students need to be able to have free time to exercise, talk with friends and even sleep.”  

Throughout my college experience I have been in my dorm taking my classes on Zoom and trying to see friends socially. It is really hard to stay content with all these things. The longer break really helped my mood and got me into a happy place with myself and those around me. A nice break allows students to reset their minds and gain a positive outlook on their schooling. 

A longer break would help the mental health of students by limiting their levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. The article The Importance of Taking Vacation Time to De-Stress and Recharge from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation describes stress as a thing that can make someone more irritable and increase the poor decisions that one could make, which could then lead to the diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorders 

This article also points out that, “School is stressful and managing friendships and relationships throughout school is stressful. Having that vacation and personal time away from stressful situations lets people recharge and de-stress from everyday routine and life.” Having time for people in general to de-stress and relax is a great thing that clears that mind and helps people be more productive in their everyday lives. For students, having time to relax a little longer is a good thing for everyone’s well being.

The counter-argument for this could be that breaks can be too long, and that year-round school should be instituted to increase learning capabilities. From CNBC, Breaking up the Summer Break: Is Year Round Education Good or Bad?, Erin Barry states, “A year-round calendar, also referred to as a balanced calendar, reorganizes the 180 school days by shortening the traditional summer break, dispersing those days into several smaller breaks throughout the year.” Having a year round education in the U.S. from a learning standpoint has produced inconclusive results so far, according to the CNBC article. There could be benefits or drawbacks to longer or shorter breaks in school or having a year round school schedule versus having summer off, but the real conclusion now: is that having longer breaks for students and faculty increases their levels of relaxation.

Having students come back to school prepared and in a good headspace should be one of the only factors to think about in extending school breaks, or, for that matter, breaks throughout the day. When a student feels good, it will show in how they learn and produce meaningful work inside their classes. Perhaps, with the extra time off, students can actually learn new skills that they are passionate about, or could even travel with friends or family (given that flying will be safe again in the future). 

Next year and beyond, a longer winter break will be beneficial for the mental and physical health of students. College students have fun, but they also need to find their way in life and come out of school ready to take on the world. This is a daunting task, and if we give students more time to focus on themselves and what they actually want to do in life, that is a really good thing.