Just recently, a little snow fell onto my city. It was a light dusting in comparison to what other parts of the United States may experiences, but it merited a lot of enthusiasm amongst the students. I experienced it through walking out on a veranda on my dorm that evening. It was beautiful, almost romantic.
It was a study break, so I couldn’t experience it that long, which brings me to the timing of Winter Break and finals for the quarter/semester.
This wasn’t the first time in which I’ve experienced a crunch of exams and papers before a long break; during high school, there was an infamous two weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. I’ve observed due dates left and right, people peering over papers and laptops to get something done at the last moment. I got an intense atmosphere everywhere, something which was rewarded with two weeks of doing whatever we desired. And did I mention no homework?
It was embued so into me as of the time; nowadays, I don’t have a clear memory of the times in which homework was assigned over the break, work which would be neglected until the last possible moment after the New Year. While I had a long paper during my junior year, that’s the only time I recall, and it was for the end of the semester.
Speaking of which, one difference between high school and college in terms of these hanging moments is that with my private high school, there was still more time before the semester formally ends. So while we enjoy our holiday antics, or just laying down in bed doing nothing, a black cloud hangs over, reminding about what ambitions are needed to add cherries to the semester.
However, in college, one can relax for the most part, save for the FAFSA, study abroad applications, summer jobs and internships. Either way, one can do what they wanted to do before they got overwhelmed with another round of classes, which are bound to be exciting, depending on the year.
So for those who think winter break is ruined because of this juxtaposition, one may take some positivity out of it. As the cliché goes—one door closes, another opens. But it also means that it's the last chance to take something out of the classes your about to end; once you turn in that exam, you'll never go back and rewrite it.
I don't agree with calling tests "festivities", because they aren't. At the same time, they don't have to be torture chambers; instead, it's an opening, towards a further opportunity to talk about these things during the break you've earned.