Long break doesn't mean less work for some in Class of 2021

Posted December 11, 2020 2:12 p.m. EST

For students at universities around the Triangle, a semester riddled by pandemic-related challenges has concluded. Now, on a winter break that is nearly double its normal length, also due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are simply taking time to relax while others push forward with their plans for the future.

“It’s nice not logging into Zoom classes. A lot less screen time.” said Vivian Le, a senior at UNC Chapel Hill.

Since UNC’s winter break commenced just before Thanksgiving, Le has split her time between Chapel Hill, where she works, and her hometown. She gets tested for the coronavirus before each time she returns home to her parents.

Bryce Royal, a senior at NC State, chose to social distance and “decompress” by traveling West. “I’m definitely thankful that school is over,” said Royal. “I’m currently on a road trip out west ... we’re going to Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.”

He feels that getting away is the best thing to do after a condensed semester with an unusually difficult workload.

Meanwhile, the work has only intensified for Sharmi Amin, a senior at Duke University. She is studying for the MCAT, a standardized test for medical school.

“I basically spend all of my time sitting in one room studying. So I really haven't interacted with the outside world that much,” said Amin.

Winter breaks at UNC, Duke and NC State, are all nearly two months long. This is because there are now a limited number of breaks during the semester to prevent students from traveling.

Despite the extended break, the Spring 2021 semester is quickly approaching, as is graduation.

Amin, Le and Royal all are uncertain as to how exactly the coming semester will pan out. “I believe it is going to take a while to get things right as far as safety,” said Royal.

Le refuses to enter the semester with a negative outlook, while Amin says she hopes to finally apply all of the skills and knowledge she has learned in her tenure at Duke to her future career.

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