Tenth week is upon us. The quickened pace and frantic gleam in our fellow students’ eyes remind us that beyond the terrifying wall of finals, papers, and projects lies farewells, then flights and drives out of the Carleton Bubble. Fall term is an orphan, engulfed on one side by hot and lazy August days and six weeks of Turkey leftovers and Christmas music on the other.
Carleton’s six-week holiday break - over half a term - is a firmly ingrained tradition. But is the time frame of six weeks squeezed in between holidays best for students?
For some, there are benefits. Many find holiday jobs in the pre-Christmas retail season. Others partake of externships coordinated by the Career Center amongs Carleton alums, parents, and friends. Many more, perhaps, enjoy a month and a half of rest and recreation: time with friends and family, a welcome respite from Bon Appetit, and fourteen hours of sleep at a clip.
For others, jobs are hard to come by. No one wants to hire someone who will soon disappear back into the college bubble in six weeks. Without the security of prior high school jobs or a lack of proper waitress etiquette can leave many students wistfully passing their time perusing Facebook and reminiscing over their term at Carleton.
Jobs are short-lived, and plenty of other students are competing for hours behind the cash register. Externships frequently last only for a week or two, and usually consist of shadowing a current worker, not producing something original. And as most of us burgeoning adults know, time with family can have a brief shelf life.
Plus, for most, summer internships and and summer jobs start as early as May, and by the time Carleton’s delayed break rolls around, all the good jobs are gone.
After the academic hangover wears off (a week-long haze of mental, social and physical exhaustion pent up from ten weeks), the question of what to do, how to spend our time, starts to feel relevant.