Looking around Cornell’s campus, no one would ever know that this school has 13,000 undergraduates. After 56 winter days crammed with classes, meetings and studying, students finally have a legitimate excuse not to attend classes because there are officially no lectures, sections, or labs after Saturday at 1:00pm.
“If we didn’t have spring break this campus would be a Mecca for neurotic overachievers” Chloe Akers ’05 said.
This momentary break in activities will not last long, however, as the University will return to regular schedule March 24.
Until the last possible second, most students intend to avoid the campus and the frigid Ithaca weather. Cornellians appear divided on what to do with this momentary episode of freedom from academic commitments. Some want to pamper themselves by laying on the couch or, better yet, the beach, while others are heading to typical spring break locations to party the week away.
“All I want to do [for spring break] is find a big Latin man with big muscles and wavy hair who doesn’t speak English,” said Lindsey Ingraham ’05. Along with a group of 24 girls from Cornell, Ingraham is off to Acapulco and plans to “get drunk, lay in the sun all day, and get a tan. And then go out and get more drunk.”
According to popular perception of spring break portrayed in the media, the annual recess has become a college-wide national festival that encourages student drinking and debauchery in such warm destinations as Florida and Mexico.
As many higher educational institutions fail to recognize national and bank holidays, college students have gone countless days without a break from taking notes or worrying about the next paper or prelim.
But these quick trips do not come free to the stressed-out student. Shannon Hughes, an STA Travel employee, said that students spend an average of $750 on a spring break trip that includes airfare, hotel and “party packages” that take care of the usual nightly expenses.
Hughes has not booked any students to any ski resorts but only warm weather climates or Europe.
Not everyone will be going somewhere exotic on their days off.
Carolyn Swerdloff ’05 is going home to Connecticut, where she plans to vegetate on the couch and watch television. She is glad to go home but that does not mean that she wouldn’t enjoy returning to Cornell with a tan.
“I hate everyone that is going to a warm climate,” Swerdloff said.
While Swerdloff remains at home with family and friends, others in the community are taking this opportunity to do service project trips.
Accompanied by forty other Cornell students, Peter Lynch ’05 is going to New York City to assist at the Covenant House in Manhattan. While he is in the Big Apple, Lynch will have certain commitments.
“My group is presenting a workshop on the college process,” Lynch said. “Such as applying, financial aid, why it’s worthwhile, and things to focus on in the essay.”
Lynch learned about this activity through the Public Service Center’s alternate breaks meeting. Other groups will be participating in activities such as beautifying the Convenant house through artwork and poetry.
The lack of classes does not mean that all students are free to go home. Many athletic teams have practice every day during the break, while others will be competing with other schools across the nation. The men’s lacrosse will be heading to Arizona while the men’s and women’s track teams have races in California.
Rachel Weiner ’05, a member of the women’s varsity crew team, will pass the week practicing twice a day with the other members of her team.
“I am excited to be spending the time with my team,” Weiner said. “And having a week to focus on training for the upcoming racing season without the stresses of school.”
Even though Cornell Dining’s meal plans stop on Saturday afternoon, certain facilities such as the Robert Purcell Market Eatery will have special times designated to serve athletic teams.
This break only comes once a year. In order to commemorate this event, students can even purchase t-shirts with the logo “Cornell Spring Break 2003” at the Cornell Store.
Archived article by Dana Rosenberg