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The stressful differences between semesters

THURS.| 11-10-22 | OPINION

     The crisp cold air fills the lungs of students as a long school day finally comes to an end and students flood the parking lot. It’s a cloudy November afternoon, break is coming up, classes will soon prepare to review for exams and students feel festive spirits in the air. Jump forward six months and the familiar feeling of end-of-year stress mixed with the icky humid air and breakless school days daunts the minds of students. 

     The fall semester of school, August to early January, is much more enjoyable than the spring semester, mid January to June. The drastic difference mainly concerns weather, breaks, exams and overall spirits. Firstly, the weather. During fall season, the slow ease into the chilled weather is enjoyable. The cold does not creep in too quickly, nor does the weather continue causing heat strokes. The contrast after summer is also nice as hoodie season can provide comfort to 

difference between semesters graphic - abby.png

Graphic by Abby Ershadi

students while in class. However in the spring semester, the harsh winter weather proceeds throughout the first few months and is so cold that going home feels like entering the arctic sea. Not to mention, the last few months of sticky, humid and pollinated air just makes me want to crawl out of my own skin. The weather is not as enjoyable as the fall season because of weird fluctuations. Alas, the weather always varies from day to day so happiness can not be solely based on this variable, but fall weather reigns supreme. 

     Secondly, fall semester also includes several more breaks. Having breaks is crucial because this allows a chance for students to destress and focus on other aspects of their lives. Not to mention continuously pushing academics can lead to burnout, therefore Thanksgiving and Christmas break is something I and other students always look forward to. These breaks also produce a grand sense of festive spirits as they represent a time to spend with family and friends. On the other hand, the only break in the spring semester is spring break. This is the only break that is at least a week long. The other months solely consist of school day after school day. In fact, it seems like a heavier workload and a higher rigor compared to the fall semester. However, I have noticed on the Pitt County calendar for this year we do have one day off of school each month so this provides a haven for overwhelmed students, especially during the spring. Not to mention spring break is not even in the spring season! The weather is generally chilly during this time and really defeats the purpose of a spring break. 

     On another note, exams remain stressful all year long. But in the spring the dire need to pass classes increases the stress by tenfold. In fall semester there are only midterm exams, majority are teacher made and exemption is possible, except for the few state mandated end of course exams. The fall exams appear very tame, especially with Christmas break coming up or having just passed. The major difference of exams regards Advanced Placement (AP) courses. In the spring, hours of studying and boatloads of work goes into the process of preparing for AP exams. Students who took AP classes in the fall semester are at a disadvantage, as taking this exam five months after the class ends is difficult. Besides these factors, the exams of both semesters are quite similar, however the spring exams just bring a new stress for all students who rely on these grades or are aiming to earn college credit. Also, students are eager for summer and can get quite anxious when preparing for exams. 

     All in all, fall is definitely the better semester. I love the blowing breezes, crunchy leaves, fun holidays, frequent breaks and less stress. Even though each of these factors contribute to why fall could be better, variables such as class schedules, classmates and sports could be a strong reason for opposing opinions. Overall, the benefits of fall semester and the supreme weather overpowers any pros spring semester may possess. 

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