The Realities of a High School Winter Break

By: Lane Chesler

When it came to winter break, the Urban Dictionary’s wise definitions of modern phrases accurately represented the stereotypical opinions of Hathaway Brown students as, “A time so joyful and relaxed that you don’t have to change your socks for 2 days at a time.” But do students truly feel this way after the blessed holiday? Two weeks of intensive travel or mind-numbing boredom can quickly alter a student’s perspectives, leading them to feelings of resentment, irritation, and an overall negative attitude by the time school rolls around. So the question is, how is our student body faring?

After receiving many quotes addressing this subject, the perspectives of students who chose to remain in the illustrious city of Cleveland over the break tended to exist on two extreme sides of a rather large spectrum, taking the stance that the break was either beneficial and enjoying, or extremely unimpressive. On the positive end, many of my classmates relished in the relaxation an HB-free break brought them such as freedom from waking, freedom from stressing, and freedom from actually caring about anything other than food. In these cases, the majority spent time with family and friends, but left the warmth of their home only when absolutely required. Their return to the community brought a fresher student than we had seen before Midterms, but a larger sense of resentment that their break had come to a close.

For many travel-free students, however, only the fact that their sleeping patterns remained uninhibited made their break enjoyable. They expressed that the main emotions experienced during this time was boredom, cabin-fever, and anxiety. Madeline Howarth, Class of 2017, stated, “The entirety of my break was, frankly, a rather monotonous stay-cation during which I never once awoke (willingly) prior to the hour of 12:00. While the rest was beneficial, by the fifth day both it and the constant pestering I received from my younger siblings had grown began to seem rather old, irritating, and frivolous.” In these cases, students had expressed an unexpected, resigned eagerness to return and escape their banal existence as well as a larger commitment to their studies.

A less varied response to break stemmed from students who travelled out of state and out of country, who took the general opinion that sometimes it is better to remain at home. Their rushed travels from place to place, or an introduction to somewhere they’d definitely rather be over the school year, brought forth many wishes to run away to somewhere warmer and stay there. For those who travelled between cold climates, as I did, and moved around the entirety of break experienced after-effects of exhaustion, lack of relaxation time, and the feeling of being rushed. In these situations break did not succeed in providing a pleasant reprieve from school, but created a sense of continuous stress that left them ill-prepared for the upcoming semester.

So the answer to our question is, it varies between happy stay-cationer and exhausted traveler. Both hassle and anxiety contributed to the winter experience, but in the end everyone enjoyed a test-free-stress-free time. So keep it up, only 5 months left until an even longer, more rewarding break, and then you probably never have change your socks.

Travel Destinations (% of student body population):

Stayed at home                                 46%

Somewhere in the US                       38%

North America                                     3%

Central America                                   5%

South America                                     3%

Europe                                                 2%

Asia                                                     2%

Africa                                                  1%

Australia                                              0%