After going 49 straight days without a vacation and with little relief from the stresses of classes, tests and school work, Thanksgiving vacation came as a welcomed and long-overdue break for most students. From the home-cooked meals, the reunions with friends and family, and finally being able to sleep past noon without worrying about missing classes, what's not to like about the holiday break? However, returning from this brief hiatus is where the challenge lies.
Maybe it was within the first few minutes of stepping back on campus that you realized this. Or maybe it didn't hit you until you settled back into your seat for another 90-minute lecture, but by now, most students have noticed that something has changed at the University. Something is off - the students. Blame it on the tryptophan in the turkey for making students lazy, but over the past few days, phrases such as "I just don't care anymore" and "I need this semester to end" have echoed throughout the halls of the University's academic buildings. Perhaps, receiving a taste of what life would be like without school has made the student body hungry for more of this freedom.
However, this change in student morale could not come at a worse time. This is perhaps the most demanding part of the entire semester. On one hand, professors are trying to gather up grades, squeeze in that final assignment or test and cram all the remaining course material into students' heads before they run out of time. At the same time, students also have finals creeping up at a rapid past and for the average student, this means playing catch-up on chapters that were never read, notes that were never jotted down or assignments that were never completed. The amount of work facing students when they return from Thanksgiving break, coupled with a severe case of aversion to school work, can leave students feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.
And if students did not have enough forces working against them, the change in the season is also notorious for taking a toll on people's moods. An estimated 15 million Americans experience seasonal affective disorder, or S.A.D. during the winter months, suffering from depression, social withdrawal, overeating and weight gain.
Combine all these factors and slacking off seems inevitable, but is it worth it? Imagine a long-distance runner pushing himself through the first 17 miles of the New York City Marathon and maintaining a strong, steady pace, but then walking the last three miles to the finish line. At this point, you may not realize it, but you have completed approximately 61 days, more than 500 hours of classes, and the majority of the coursework. That means you have to be subjected to only seven more days of lectures, a few tests and then you're done. (Till next semester at least.) You owe it to yourself and the time and energy that you have already exhausted doing work throughout the semester.
You can be surprised at what you are capable of achieving, at how far you can push yourself, when you know that the end is near. There is a light at the end of this tunnel and at this point in the journey you can catch a glimpse of it.
Every team needs a rally speech from time to time, a reminder that you are stronger than you think and a promise that your toils will pay off in the end. Here's yours Hofstra. Stay focused, and you will be proud of your accomplishments, and truly deserving of the praise, the relief and the parties waiting for you at the finish line.