Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Goldwin Smith Hall houses the newly-named Department of Literatures in English.

November 15, 2020

Students Exhale as Winter Break Nears

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After 10 weeks of uninterrupted classes — with only one day off to break up a semester riddled with Zoom fatigue and burnout — students are eager to finally have some much-anticipated time off. 

This year, Cornell’s winter break is two weeks longer than usual, starting in mid-December and leading up all the way to Feb. 9, 2021, when spring semester classes begin. 

After a challenging and mostly online semester, some students are using the break as a vacation. 

“I’m planning on celebrating Christmas with my family and then spending the rest of the break in an Airbnb in New Jersey,” Gabe Biers-Browne ’23 said about his plans with some friends from high school. “We’re all getting tested for COVID-19 before moving in, and plan on spending our time playing frisbee and relaxing.” 

Biers-Browne said he is eager to revel in the extra time off after a semester with only a single Wednesday break, as Cornell hoped to curb travel away from campus.

“Trying to adjust to an online semester was hard enough, but what made it worse was that we got almost no time to relax,” Biers-Browne said. 

Other students, however, are using the break to work during the especially long winter away from Ithaca. Reed Landry ’23 is heading to work part-time at a Breckenridge, Colorado, ski resort after Thanksgiving Break. 

“I get the experience, the money and a ski pass that lets me ski at any of the resort’s locations,” Landry said. “The ability to do this is probably the only upside to not having any breaks during the semester, because I don’t think I’d be able to [this in] any other winter break.” 

Similarly, Kyra Kozin ’23 said she wants this break to be a busy one. Kozin plans to take a winter class and work for her mom with the extra time off.

But having a nearly three-month break comes with downsides — it means shaving off days spent in Ithaca during a year that has already cut short time on campus. Kozin said she is contemplating returning to Ithaca in January to stay in her apartment: “Two and a half months is a long time to be home,” she said.

However, not all students have this option. Since Cornell is switching to a fully remote semester after Thanksgiving, students living in dorms will have to leave their residences, except in limited circumstances. 

But Dylan Keusch ’24 doesn’t mind this requirement, because he’s looking forward to seeing his family after his first semester away from home. He plans to enroll in ECON 1120 during the winter break to lighten his load in the spring.

“Mostly, I need some time off from school and want to see my family,” Keusch said.