When is it okay to take a week off of school?

A tranquil beach on the coast of the Dominican Republic.

Jimmy Nolter

A tranquil beach on the coast of the Dominican Republic.

Jimmy Nolter, Sport's Editor

As a senior currently taking four Advanced Placement (AP) classes and one honors class, taking a week off of school may seem ridiculous.  How could I just leave for a week while taking four college level courses?

Easy, I wanted to go see another country.

I stayed in the Dominican Republic for a week and loved it.  But why would a student in their right mind, especially one that’s taking multiple AP courses, take a week off of class?  Well for starters, I was getting straight A’s and managing my work very well, so it was not like I was drowning in work.  Secondly, I went during the week of my eighteenth birthday.  My thought process was that I only turn eighteen once, so I might as well go somewhere exotic and have fun.

But I did not just carelessly go on vacation.  For the first couple of months before I left for the Dominican, I paid close attention to how I was performing in school.  If I could barely handle the classes while attending them every day, I was not about to take a week off.

There is also a school policy that students that plan to take a day off must follow.  They go to the main office and receive a form which requires them to go to all of their teachers who will write down the assignments that are due upon return and sign the sheet.  And that is the only way the absences can be excused.

So the better question is not, why would a student take a vacation, but should they go on vacation in the middle of the year?  Well, yes and no.

Yes, because traveling and seeing the world is something important that people should do.   A trip like this also offers a break from the stress that school causes.  Between junior year, the ACT, and senior year with its college applications, there was a nice incentive to take some time off.

Still, the week away from school threw off my rhythm.  After coming back, I was so used to sitting on a beach all day that I did not want to do any homework.  And, after missing a week’s worth of school, there was also a week’s worth of notes, assignments, quizzes and tests.  It was difficult to stay on top of it all.  Taking a week off of class can easily allow a student to fall behind on work.

Personally, if the student is doing well in their classes and is able to keep themselves from falling behind in their classes, a vacation during the school year at least once should be encouraged.  But if the student is not doing well in class, or will certainly fall behind in their work upon returning, then taking the vacation is a lot riskier.  Everybody should take a vacation at least once a year – be it in the summer or during the school year.  Each person knows what’s best for them and their own schedules.