Students adjust to school after extended break

With almost a month off for winter break, students find themselves to be more overwhelmed and unrested than they expected


Josephine Phillips

Sliding Down the Slopes — Students enjoy their last days off by sledding. This was a nice break from piling up school work.

Students enjoyed the luxury of almost a month off, starting with winter break on Dec. 18 and ending with five snow days following the end of break. And while many appreciated the time off, numerous consequences have arisen as a result. Many students feel like they’ve hit the ground running.

“I have a lot of work due this week,” junior Dalia Fishman said. “Because of our extra week of winter break, all of my teachers have been assigning projects and homework like crazy to try and get us caught up.”

Many students spent their breaks relaxing, celebrating holidays and generally ignoring schoolwork. Coming back into McLean after little to no instruction, for almost a month, makes classes even more difficult.

“There should be some sympathy shown to students who haven’t done any work in three weeks, who now have a mountain of work to do and new materials to learn, a new bell schedule to adapt to, and also have to deal with the rising COVID cases,” Fishman said. “It’s overwhelming.”

Another adjustment both students and teachers are forced to make is changing their sleep schedule.

“[Over the break] my sleep schedule shifted to later waking times and later waking up times, some nights I have gone to sleep at 2 or even 3 a.m.,” freshman Sam Rakowski said.

School starts at 8:10 a.m., meaning some students have to wake up at 6 a.m. or earlier. This is a huge difference from the leisurely 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. timeframe a lot of students were waking up during over their three-week break. With smaller amounts of sleep and larger amounts of projects and homework, students are stuck in a tiresome cycle.

“I know people who get less than four hours of sleep per night due to homework and other stressors,” Fishman said.

Even teachers have noticed the difference in students’ attitudes, but they are trying to see the best in this unwarranted situation.

“I think students are so resilient,” math teacher Margaret Nye said. “So you’ll bounce back really well. But definitely this first week back I feel like everyone was way more tired than I expected.”

The long break, while relaxing, has also messed up lesson plans for teachers, causing the immense amount of homework and projects which students are concerned about. 

“We just pushed everything back,” Nye said. “I tried to keep you guys as informed as possible.”

With expectations to have pushed the end of quarter back, though, along with all these extra inconveniences, it’s not a surprise to find many frustrated with the lack of planning and added pressure due to too much time off.

“I understand that missing a week of school puts us behind in curriculum,” Fishman said, “but now I have a ton of work to do and new things to learn, all while dealing with rising COVID cases.”