The last hurrah

If you ask academic advisors, professors, your parents, or anyone concerned with your academic well-being under the age of 25, they would probably explain to you the value of a fast start to the semester.  Take notes from the get-go.  Get a head-start on long-term assignments.  Spend “syllabus week” getting ahead of the game.  You know, the usual buzzwords and company lines.

I’m not any of those people.  I’m a junior in college.  And while I can’t reduce the value of a fast start to the semester, I’ll also let you guys in on a little secret: the first weekend or two of the semester is the closest thing you’re going to have to a break there is in college.

I’m not telling you to eschew work entirely during your first two weeks of classes.  Obviously if you have smaller homework assignments, hammer them out during the week.  But your first two weekends are schoolwork-free zones. Allow me to explain.

Yes, you want to get a start on your bigger long-term assignments somewhat early. But for the most part, professors are already accounting for the fact that students aren’t in full-on scholastic mode until after two weeks or so.  After that brief grace period, though, it’s game time.  And from that point on, your weekends will be split amongst your school priorities and activities, with whatever leftover time you have usually spent on those tiny issues like sleeping and eating.

Spring break or thanksgiving break? Yeah, you’ll be at home, but many college students spend that time either working at home or dreading the day they return to school. And once you do get back, it’s all about the home-stretch to finals.

But each semester’s first two weekends are truly glorious. The first comes right after Syllabus Week, so the time is generally wide open. The second is almost always a three day weekend. In the fall, Labor Day usually comes during the second weekend of classes, and in the spring semester, you can thank Martin Luther King Jr. for his contributions to the Civil Rights movement as well as granting you a three day weekend.

Remember, it’s still possible to have a great, straight-A semester even if you spend the first few weekends relaxing, partying, or doing whatever you like to do during vacations. But if you plan on spending those first few weekends hard at work expecting to take a random weekend during the semester for yourself, you’re going to be quite disappointed.  So heed my advice, friends, and enjoy take advantage of your easy time while you’ve still got it.

-Matt

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