Top 10 Things Professors Do During Spring Break

It turns out there is a lot of confusion out there about what exactly professors do over spring break. My neighbors think I’m on my way to the beach and my students don’t know what to think. So let’s put this mystery to rest with a top 10 list:

  1. Catch up on research. During the semester if you have a less than productive research day there are no short term consequences. On the other hand, if you don’t prep you lecture for the next day you look pretty silly standing up in front of your class with nothing to say. That’s a recipe for falling behind on research.

  2. Grade the exams students took the week before break and the papers students passed in right before they left for Daytona.

  3. Write referee reports. Part of our job is to evaluate our peers’ work and either suggest improvements or make the case that the project is hopeless.

  4. Attend conferences. These are often conveniently scheduled when we don’t have to work around classes.

  5. Collect data in the field. I don’t do much of this, but if I did, this is when I’d do it. Preferably someplace warm.

  6. Recover some sleep. We don’t get enough during the semester either.

  7. See family. These might be members in our own homes that we didn’t see enough or grandparents that live in another state.

  8. Prep classes for after break. It’s always nice to start the second half with a few lectures in the bank.

  9. File taxes. If you’re extremely lucky you have another professor in your household that’s willing to do this. (Thank you!)

  10. Blog a little more. We can always dream!

So is spring break vacation? Kind of, but not really since we work almost every day. It’s still nice change of pace.