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Spring Break

Observer Scene | Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Let’s face it, college means stress. Or at least, around here it means stress. After a few weeks on campus, everything outside disappears, and suddenly life is all about finishing the paper, acing (or just passing) the exam, getting into grad school or getting ready for that job interview. Even the weekends – a long night at Turtle Creek or Heartland – can turn into a brief attempt to forget, one way or another, about the stress that dominates the week.Of course, maybe that’s just the way life goes. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, sometimes your job, your classes or just your life in general starts to run you. Anyway, we chose this – we can drop out whenever we want, and not take the next midterm, but of course we keep plowing through.But around the middle of February, when the dining hall meatballs start to look a little gray and no one has seen blue sky in eight weeks, it’s easy to forget that people have lives outside the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses.There really is a big world out there, if only we could get out and see it.A week may not be much time compared to the months of school, and spring break certainly flies by a lot quicker than any other week of the year. Still, whatever it is we do when we’re not stuck in a classroom or in front of a computer screen, spring break gives us a chance to see that not everything out there ties in to professors or the Fighting Irish.At school we’re all students and we all do a lot of the same things. We eat at the same dining halls, spend hours in the same classroom buildings, fulfill the same freshman requirements and listen to the same campus announcements. Get us off campus and we go as many ways as there are students.For some people nothing sounds nicer than margaritas in Mexico or the Cayman Islands. Other students head overseas to visit friends and family. Maybe instead you’d rather build houses in Appalachia, study politics in Washington, D.C. or go dog sledding in northern Wisconsin. If you’re a movie addict, you can catch up on all the hits you haven’t had time to even think about watching. Or maybe after midterms nothing sound better than your own bed, Mom’s cooking and a little time with your own family. No matter who you are, one thing is for sure – it’s nice to finally have some time that’s yours.Coming back to classes and the cold weather hurts, and during the first week back it might be hard to remember why exactly we came back instead of staying at the resort in Mexico or at home with our friends. With only a month and a half left and the sun actually starting to shine, we’ll make it through. And at least when we’re getting older and can’t remember who wrote the Republic or how to find an integral, we’ll have some possibly embarrassing but definitely irreplaceable memories to look back on. Contact Maria Smith at msmith4@nd.edu