I write these words with the prospect of an academic Spring Break ahead.
Next week such normal goings on will be temporarily suspended.
This is not to say work will cease, however, because Spring Break week often provides needed time and freedom for students, faculty members and administrators to play catch up.
Many students spend Spring Break deep in serious work. I know for a fact
some of you tend to take off early, stretching Spring Break to a week-and-a-half or two.
I have been known to maliciously schedule a major examination the last class session just before Spring Break, to keep my history students on campus a while longer, but some professors postpone examinations and major projects until after the break, as I did this semester.
Imagine all those students at Daytona Beach, Fla., brushing sand from the pages of biology and Cclculus and even history textbooks, taking a few minutes from their ruminations every two hours or so to frolic in the surf! Well … maybe not, but students will nonetheless be greeted back on campus with exams, quizzes and research paper deadlines.
Other students are spending Spring Break away from studies and parties, choosing instead to serve on campus ministry mission trips or other volunteering activities.
Still others have gone back home to spend time with families and old high school friends.
I always look forward to Spring Break with giddy delight.
I have finally realized that my determination to schedule examinations the last class session before Spring Break will backfire on me, requiring furious grading during a week of supposed peace and tranquility.
Of course, I will pay for it during the last half of the term, but at least Spring Break will be grading-free.
“There is no rest for the wicked,” said Russell Jacks in Jan Karon’s Mitford books. “No rest for the wicked and the righteous don’t need none,” the old sexton would say.
Spring Break certainly fails to alleviate all of the burdens of a professor’s calling.
Anxieties still remain, and I peck away at my writing projects, long deferred during the hustle and bustle of the semester.
So I work away and try not to think about the rush to come. After all, “no man ever sank under the burden of the day,” wrote George Macdonald.
“It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today, that the weight is more than a man can bear.”
Oh, there is one other problem that will probably keep me from the successful completion of my burden of work.
One’s children can be brutally honest – can’t they? – especially with their parents.
During one Spring Break, I remarked to my son, rather innocently, that all that week I had experienced trouble in completing any of my writing projects.
Knowing me all too well, my son shot back immediately, “Well, there’s only one reason for that.” “And what is that, Wesley?” I asked. “March Madness!” he replied.
Column by Duane Bolin, professor of history.