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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

As a chronic procrastinator, I’ve always found fall and spring breaks to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because they often come at the exact right time in the semester, when the workload is getting heavier and the end still seems so far away, but a curse because they come in the middle of the semester — which means that, usually, there’s still work to be done. I tend to put off doing work over breaks, even when I know that I shouldn’t. I enjoy school. I want to do well. But when break arrives, all I want to do is curl up in bed and let my brain take a much-needed vacation.

Finding a balance between these conflicting desires is hard, and has often served as a source of guilt for me in the past. When the end of break approaches and I realize I’ve done none of the work I was meant to do, I’m arrested by a sick sense of regret at my own laziness. Or, at least, that’s what I used to think of it as: laziness. But I’ve begun to realize recently that that isn’t a fair description. I shouldn’t condemn myself for choosing to rest during a time period that has been specifically set aside for students to rest. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for prioritizing managing my school-related stress. 

Still, this doesn’t mean that it’s healthy to completely ignore your work, either. Whether it’s fair or not, many classes require that at least some work is completed over mid-semester breaks — and allowing yourself to fall behind on that work can only lead to increased stress once the break is over and you’ve returned to school. Especially in college, with its demanding schedules and course loads, I’ve had to learn the art of balancing relaxation and responsibility over breaks. 

Something that I’ve found helpful in the process of finding this balance is creating a schedule and prioritizing what needs to be done first, versus what can be done later. In the past, I’ve tended to ignore all of my work until the last minute, and then cram it all into the last day or two before school starts. This isn’t sustainable, and it almost inevitably leads to the end of my breaks being stressful rather than a nice, gentle return to the demands of school. What I’ve begun trying instead is breaking up my assignments by level of priority and scattering them throughout the break, carving out an hour or two from each day that is designated for homework. Having this type of schedule makes the amount of work seem far more manageable, and it allows me to mentally prepare for the fact that I’m going to have to do schoolwork during break. 

Having this sort of routine has been a game changer for me, but I do still believe that the most important part of this process is remembering to be kind to yourself. These mid-semester breaks act as a much-needed escape from the rigors of school, and we all deserve the chance to rest our minds and bodies. Catching up on sleep, having fun, hanging out with friends and family — none of these should be forgotten or eliminated on the path to fulfilling homework demands. If you’re not able to create a routine like the one I’ve started to implement, or if you create one but it doesn’t work, that’s okay. You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. No one should. 

If you struggle to manage your school-related anxiety during breaks, I always recommend reaching out to professors. Some of them won’t be accommodating, this is true, but many of them are understanding of the fact that deadlines and assignments are difficult to keep up with, particularly over breaks, and they will return your concerns with compassion if you reach out. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself — there’s no shame in needing extra time on an assignment, or asking for additional support during a hectic, busy time.

Sidra Eskins

CU Boulder '26

Sidra is a new member here at HCCU! She is a contributing writer for CU Boulder's chapter of Her Campus, and she can't wait to get started with this lovely community. Sidra is a second-year student at CU Boulder, double majoring in Creative Writing and Women & Gender Studies, and considering adding an International Affairs minor. With HCCU, she is excited to explore her passions -- particularly writing creatively and discussing political issues as they relate to college students. Her other interests include self care/mental health, friendships, pop culture, and travel. She hopes to incorporate all of these topics and beyond into her writing for HCCU! Outside of HCCU and school, Sidra can usually be found reading, laughing with friends, trying out new recipes, listening to music, out on the hiking trail, or couch potato-ing in her room.