The well-deserved summer break preserves students’ sanity

Katya Luzarraga

The sun is shining down on your pale, vitamin D deprived skin as you lounge by the pool with your friends. Sleeping in until 11 o’clock in the morning is the new normal, and why shouldn’t it be since you’re on summer vacation? You’re finally able to get rid of the unrealistic expectations which have been so meticulously built up on you throughout the school year. Summer is a time to breathe, think and unwind in the fresh air. No matter how “high-performing” our teachers and parents may think we are, we deserve the two short months allotted to us in the summer to get our sanity back.

Even though there are so many activities to do during the summer, many students choose to squander their free time by taking summer classes. We learn enough during the year, so we definitely don’t need to take more subjects during our “off-season” from school.

School used to be a place that felt creative and exciting, but the older you get, the more you realize that school is taxing, to say the least. What happened to getting a gold star for turning in your homework on time, or even simply writing your name on your homework? When you’re that young, you don’t realize how valuable summer vacation is.

Throughout the school year, students have burnt themselves out trying to complete a copious amount of homework assignments. Forced to complete these assignments in a certain amount of time, students are subconsciously copying textbook answers or rushing through their work, not able to fully absorb what they are learning.

Teachers have consistently preached the power of hard work and dedication. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way that dedication has simmered down into defeat. There has not been a moment in the last two years where I haven’t wanted to throw my hands up and admit that I’m tired.

I may be speaking for myself at this moment, but I can bet that many of my peers are feeling just as mentally exhausted as I am. This is one of the many symptoms of student burnout. It’s naive to believe that our bodies and our brains can function all year-round without any repercussions, and that is precisely why we deserve a break in the summer. If you overwork your brain, you are causing more harm to yourself, even if you give yourself credit for “pushing through.”

Summer vacation should be a guaranteed break for students to look forward to. In the elementary levels, recreational camps during the summer provide a chance for younger students to continue expanding their world knowledge without being confined to the classroom. This is crucial, as their brains are still developing and soaking up everything around them.

For older students, we have been expected to try our hardest our entire high school career, and we need a break. As the workload increases, so does the looming stress and anxiety regarding college applications, jobs and entering the real world. Without summer vacation, our connection to each other would falter and our priorities would shift towards academic achievement which, ultimately, is not where our priorities should be.

Students learn so much throughout the school year, from trigonometry to conjugating foreign languages. There is no shortage of information that is taught, and each year, teachers continue to pile up the information until we are grown adults. It’s valid to assume that not all of this information is absorbed at once when teachers expect us to. During the summer, we have time to process what has been taught to us, and apply this knowledge when we stumble upon something we are unsure of.

All of our pent-up stress is released right as summer break begins. We are able to sleep in later and wake up later, making us feel more well-rested. The opportunity to choose how to spend your day is one of the best perks of summer, and that wouldn’t be possible if you were taking summer classes.

Late-nights at the beach with friends or whole family dinners are such treasured memories, and cutting those experiences short to wake up for summer class the next day is not worth it.

When you look back on your childhood, you’re not going to remember the tests that you flunked or how late you stayed up to finish a project. You are going to remember the friends who stood by you through every unflattering phase in your life, jumping over waves that are taller than you and the pure serenity of talking with your loved ones late into the night.

While summer classes may allow you to pursue your passions without the time commitment that school classes involve, isn’t that what the rest of your life is for? When you are an adult, there isn’t an allotted time where you can just “take a break for the summer.” The older you get, the more society demands of you. So, while you have the chance, you need to prioritize your mental health and happiness by taking time to relax with the people you love.

Summer break simply makes sense. When it’s warm outside, the natural reaction is to want to spend time outside and soak up the elusive New England sun. These serotonin-laced moments cannot be taught by teachers who shove tests down your throat. The thrill of summer vacation needs to be experienced firsthand in your youth while you still have time. Summer is when you can escape your problems, not solve them with a number two pencil.