School vacation—a high school student’s favorite phrase. In New Jersey, 180 days of student instruction are required for public schools, while private schools require less. School vacations are based off of important events or seasons. At RHS, we have Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, winter (February) break, spring break, and most importantly, summer vacation. School vacation is a great time for students to focus on life without school and relax. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages.
Time With Family and Friends:
When school is in session, it almost becomes a job for high school students. Breaks give students time to bond with family and friends. Jaimie Douaihy, a junior, spent her winter break catching up with her family. “I was able to sleep in, but also go out. I went to the city with my family and cousins! Without these schools vacations, I wouldn’t be able to see them and spend time with them.”
With more free time, students are able to do whatever they wish. Terrence Chun, a junior, explains how he spent the past break relaxing: “I was able to watch Netflix shows without thinking about what is due the next day. I was able to kick back and do whatever I wanted.” Moreover, some students sleep in, as they are not rudely awoken by an alarm clock. By being able to wake up freely and spend the day doing whatever they would like, students are happier.
Explore New Things:
During school vacations, students are able to take matters into their own hands and can relax or explore. Travel, whether it’s abroad or just around the area, allows us to learn things we might not necessarily learn in the classroom. Additionally, summer break gives students time to discover their future and gain experiences. They can get a job, attend a camp, or simply try new things. By getting a job, students are able to gain experiences in the working world and earn some money. Many students attend camps – academic, religious, or just simply summer. Academic camps can enhance a student’s focus and appreciation for a specific program. Lastly, traveling is a huge part of school vacations. Traveling allows us to go outside of our boundaries. Nicoletta Venizelos spent time in Greece over the summer and was able to see life from a different perspective. “It was just so beautiful. I was able to live life carefree and explore a new culture.” Exploration allows students to see life outside of the classroom.
Unavailability of Parents:
Although students have breaks, this does not necessarily mean that parents also have time off. This is an issue for families with kids in elementary school, as school vacations do not always align with a parent’s work schedule. With these holidays, parents may need to hire babysitters to look after their children – adding on expenses.
Ending School Later:
If some vacation days were taken away, school could end earlier for everyone. As it is the law for a school to be operating for 180 days, the time vacationing would be turned into the time learning – allowing us to leave school earlier. Schools in the South typically start earlier, therefore, they are able to end earlier than most schools in the North.
School becomes such a routine that an extensive amount of break could cause boredom. This typically occurs toward the middle to end of summer as some may feel like there is nothing left to do.
Whether its a few days or a few weeks, school vacations allow students to take a step back and live their life. How would we function without them?
Graphic: Lia Vaynshteyn