Fall Break, Not Really A Break

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Submitted by Monika Jingchen Hu

When I talked to my college friends who are currently in graduate schools in different American universities, they were surprised to know that Duke graduate students can enjoy fall break. I was quite “proud” to announce that I would be taking my fall break off, traveling and meeting old friends. This time the destination is Seattle.

So I booked my tickets early in September, and never really thought about traveling schedule after that. All I knew was I would have a place to stay for those days and friends could show me around, so I didn’t have to plan and worry.

Early last week, I realized that fall break was about to take place in just a few days and I was worried. I wasn’t saying that I regretted planning to take fall break off, but I was really busy that taking even just 4 days off without working seemed unrealistic. So I sort of packed “reluctantly” and made plans of reading and working on the plane (the worst plan ever).

Seattle is a great city. Good food, interesting places, and nice scenery – I enjoyed myself very much. Several friends showed me around the city (and the city next to Seattle – Bellevue). Most of them there are in graduate school, and they seemed to be busy with work as well. It was very nice of them receiving me warmly and talking about good old times back in college always makes people happy. But all of these happened in the first 2 and half days of my 4-day break. The rest of the time I had devoted myself to catching up with work in the library at University of Washington. Sounds quite pathetic, doesn’t it?

What’s more, after I came back from the break on Tuesday, I had to work two full days (as late as 2 am) just to finish all the homework and some research work that needed to be done over the break. I am now finally free to write this blog.

I guess for graduate students fall break isn’t really a break. But I am very glad that I traveled a little bit to see other cities and other ways of living. It keeps my mind refreshed and keeps a new round of motivation – to work harder until next break.

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