Are Vacations Worth it During the School Year?


Olive D. '19

Callaghan's family enjoying their vacation at Lake Placid.

Sometimes a vacation is all we need to relax and get right back on track, but during the school year, vacations can bring students even more stress. For some students the mention of going on vacation fills them with excitement, whether they go to Florida, Punta Cana, Spain, South Africa, or the Poconos. But students heading off to have fun may forget the amount of work waiting to greet them at the door as soon as they head back to school.

What is not to like about going on vacation, especially with your family? While school and work may be an obstacle, families still find ways to take a break. Many parents, I know mine, have struggled throughout the years planning a convenient time to go on vacation during the school year. They asked us how much school work we would possibly miss and had to decide whether it was reasonable to miss school. It is rational for some families to travel while school is still in session rather than before the break starts because that is when the chaos begins. The airport feels like you are at a zoo with so many people running to catch their flights and kids running around and the ticket prices skyrocket, making it easier for families to plan earlier departures and avoid all the chaos, but when that decision is made, kids have to bear the missed classwork, homework, lessons, and tests when they get back.

From personal experience, my family and I traveled to Ghana a week before break had ended and while I was more than excited to go, when I got back I found that I missed more than I had expected to. It is without question the student’s responsibility to be on top of their work and see their teachers for assignments they will be missing. I had to talk to my teachers and get assignments and class lessons ahead of time. I was on top and had a plan of what I needed to get done but when I got back there was still more that I had missed. It was more difficult to learn the newer lessons because I wasn’t able to be in class and getting notes from my classmates wasn’t the same as being taught from your teacher. Missing a week of school and even missing one day of school isn’t as easy to catch up on as it may appear. I missed one week of school and it felt more like I had missed a month worth of classes. I enjoyed the vacation and it was one I would never forget. I don’t regret going and having to catch up on the extra work because it was worth it all getting to see my family and experience new things, but for future plans I would definitely talk to my parents and teachers and try to figure out a way to get some tests and assignments in ahead of time.

This Thanksgiving break was a short one, but Erin Callaghan’s family took advantage of the opportunity to travel to Lake Placid. Callaghan only missed two days of school, but when she came back she had four tests to make up in one day. She was stressed and had work that she missed in class as well. And to top it all off she said the vacation was not fun at all. Callaghan said if the vacation was more fun and not as cold and boring as it was in Lake Placid then she wouldn’t have been as upset about all the stress of the work she missed because it was at least worth going.

In the end, going on family vacations is the parents’ decision, but talking as a family and reflecting on who you are as a student is something that needs to be well thought out. In cases like Callaghan’s, even missing two days was a lot and she made the mistake of not seeing her teachers for the assignments she would miss. It is up to the students to know if they are capable of extra workload because coming back to more stress that could have been avoided may end up leaving some students with the question, was that vacation even worth it?