A new semester is a time for students to continue to reach their full potential in academics, possibly athletics, and any type of extracurricular activity or club. Not only this, but students anticipate short, but very beneficial, breaks throughout the semester to rejuvenate for the remainder of the semester.
Breaks in a semester are vital. Breaks allow students to possibly take a weekend vacation with friends or family or take some time to sit on the couch, do nothing academic, and binge watch a new series on Netflix. However, the fall 2020 semester students at Maryville College and all around the nation, are experiencing a semester without any time to take a quick break.
As this has been a challenging semester for all students, I believe it is important, insightful, and intriguing to read into how four students, all from different classes, have been impacted by the semester.
Freshman Eric Hartless walked into this semester with the fresh view of a recent high school student that has allowed him to not necessarily notice a semester absent of breaks.
“Overall, coming from high school, I have not really noticed the semester without breaks,” Hartless said. With this, Hartless has been able to bear a continuous semester, and he explained another important aspect of college.
“I believe college has a schedule where you can kind of decide when you want to have breaks anyway, so it hasn’t been too bad for me personally,” Hartless said.
Sophomore year can be a year full of stress and a packed schedule, as this semester begins more “major-centered” classes. Sophomore AnnaKate Bechman explained how this semester has seemed as if there is no time to just breathe.
When asked what has been the most difficult aspect of this semester without breaks, Bechman expressed her frustration.
“I never have any time to breathe,” Bechman said. “I go, go, go, and when there are no breaks, I never have time to catch up and feel like I am ahead.”
Breaks are a necessary to find some time to get ahead. They also allow students like Bechman to prepare to finish strong on the remaining portion of the semester.
Junior year is a time where students begin the “home stretch” of classes and may even begin senior projects such as thesis or comprehensive exams. Junior Grant Agnew explained that this semester with no breaks has “felt like a marathon.” As most students can agree, this semester has felt never-ending with no time to recharge. However, Agnew is hopeful and looking to his future at Maryville College.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back into that relational environment and just talking and building relationships with students across campus,” Agnew said.
Senior year is a year of wrapping up. Students are preparing for their final semesters and completing their thesis, comprehensive exams, and final classes. Seniors, such as Kayla Zimmerman, anticipated a semester with a break to take some time to catch up. Zimmerman said that until midterms, she did not have any trouble without the breaks.
“I could feel that it was time for a fall break of some sort but without one in sight,” Zimmerman said. “It’s hard to keep pushing in classes without a chance to breathe and regroup.”
Zimmerman, and so many students at Maryville College and beyond, have needed a short break in the semester to refresh and tackle the remainder with determination, motivation, and grit.
This semester has been different and unique for all of us. Maryville College has done an exceptional job at making this semester as normal as possible despite the various changes that had to be made. As students begin the last few weeks of the semester, it is vital that the motivation remains present.
As the semester begins to slow down and finals approach, we, as students, must not forget to keep the drive and motivation. Even more than that, let us not lose hope of what future semesters hold. Students, like Bechman, remain optimistic of what the future holds for her and the rest of the student body’s college careers.
“I am hopeful for breaks, being able to have community, having time to breathe, be a kid even in college, and for all of the campus activities and community to come back.”
The end of the semester is in sight. Let us each finish strong, do not lose hope, and do not forget to give yourself, and others, grace.