Fall break, for many, was not a break this year. Students felt overwhelmed with the work assigned—time meant for rest, rejuvenation and the Maine outdoors became time for catching up on copious amounts of work, last-minute papers and even exams.
Now, we are approaching Thanksgiving break with even more on our plates. Students in-residence for the fall face transitions off campus. For many in the Class of 2024, this is a goodbye to the home and friends they just made, and an adaptation to online classes in a new environment. Then, there remains the question of how to operate at home. Upperclass students are being swamped with decisions about course selection, spring housing and contingency plans for next semester. Students of all grades will have to take their finals from home rather than the comfort of the Bowdoin campus. COVID-19 cases are not the only thing rising; anxiety levels are, too.
This is a critical juncture for many students. Life will begin to look different, whether that means returning to live with family for the next several months, or gearing up to come to a campus that will feel entirely different. These are challenging, stressful processes.
The College has given us this time for ourselves, for the halting of academic work—let’s use it accordingly.
Take the time you need to create new patterns and come to careful decisions about what will be best for you in the upcoming months. Allow yourself to experience the feelings that come with these changes.
Professors: you were forced to develop classes and alter your teaching to fit a new learning model amidst similar stresses. Some of you have been home-schooling children or caring for aging family members at the same time. You deserve a break, too.
So now, focus on the present. Of course, we still have work. As we approach finals, this may be more work than ever. However, we must be deliberate in actually giving ourselves a break this Thanksgiving. Carve out time to relax. If you can, spend time outside. Watch movies, read a good book or safely connect with your loved ones. Thanksgiving break has always been a calm before the storm—a short vacation that allows us to breathe before we begin the final push of the semester. Take this time that has been given to you to sit back and unwind.
We encourage you, as always, to be kind to yourself—especially now! Try, challenging though it may be, to take a break from thinking about school. We have all been through a lot these past few months and need time to reflect and be present. It is not selfish to take care of oneself.
This Thanksgiving—give yourself permission to stop and be.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Editorial Board which is comprised of Julia Jennings, Katie King, Ayub Tahlil, Emily Staten and Steven Xu.