An extended winter break

Libby Williams, Staff Reporter

After two quarters of mostly online learning, many students have opted to take some time off from school. Some feel that an online curriculum doesn’t compare to that of an in-person class, and the lack of structure accompanied by an increase in mental strain may not be worth the price of tuition.  

Thomas Marchant, a junior studying musical education with an emphasis on chorale, said he’s struggled with the online structure since it started last spring, noting that he’s not as strong a student when dealing with an at-home approach. 

“I really felt like, with my major specifically, it benefits so much with an in-person learning experience,” Marchant said.  “I just really wouldn’t get the same thing out of an online version.” 

Marchant said he is hoping to return to campus next quarter, as long as things begin to get back to normal. In the meantime, he’s found some food service jobs to save money, and is enjoying working on his own personal music projects. 

“Looking back on the past two quarters, I wish I would have just differed the whole year,” Marchant said.

Michael Christensen, a senior studying musical theater, said he feels a similar frustration towards online learning when it comes to performance. 

“Doing theater … it’s a major that requires you to be there with somebody,” Christensen said. 

Christensen, who is back home in Montana, spoke with some of his friends who attend other universities, and the exasperation is unanimous. 

“It seems like every university that my friends are attending, it’s the same struggle,” Christensen said. “They’re not learning anything comparative to being in person.”

Christensen said he is hoping to work during his break to save money for future quarters. He said he’s in no rush to finish his degree and is thankful he can save some money and relax, but ultimately is hoping for a sense of normalcy so he can return to his friends. 

“I want to be there, and it sucks that I’m not,” Christensen said.

Peyton Brown, a junior studying history and social studies education, is taking winter quarter off as well, and says she’s been looking forward to a break for some time.

“I really love being in the classroom and being on campus, so I kind of lost my passion and love for learning from my house and doing it all by myself,” Brown said. 

She said she felt a sense of relief watching her roommates log in for the first day of the quarter, knowing she could take some time for herself. 

Brown said it wasn’t just the pandemic and online learning that prompted this time off. She said she had been feeling burned out for a while, and everything came to a head during fall quarter.

She said that she’s feeling confident about returning spring quarter, refreshed and ready to start again. She urged any student feeling exhausted to consider their options.

“I think if at any point you’re feeling burned out, you should take a break, because that’s a lot of money,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t want to spend that much money to be unhappy or unwell.”