Relaxation and rehabilitation are two words that are rare to find in any college vocabulary and are exceedingly underrated in a student’s life style. At the beginning of freshman year, we stress over finding a group of friends to share our college adventure with. We struggle to figure out the nervous system of our classes and what makes our professors smile and scowl. We get grey hairs at the age of eighteen because we have never had to study six hours straight for a test, take tutoring three times a week and complete four hours of homework a night. Sophomore year we panic trying to chose a major, knowing that if we pick wrong we may be doomed to repeat courses we broke our backs to pass. We busy ourselves with advising meetings, life plans, all the while still trying to resuscitate our social lives. Junior and Senior year is filled to the brim with internships, extracurriculars, frantically shoving classes into our already full schedules trying to meet the requirements of the two year plan we made in the fall, all while facing the daunting and fast approaching presence of the real world.
We wonder why we are so exhausted. The reason? We don’t take a break. We don’t break the rules. We don’t play hookie.
As a journalism student, it is difficult for me to resists the urge to look up and research article after article on how the brain works, why the body needs rest, the benefits of taking a day off, all for the purpose of proving to you that it is exceedingly important to take a day off or two. But in all reality, while science can answer most of the world’s pressing questions, I can also have the privilege to tell you, from personal experience, that learning to play hookie every once in awhile, has saved my college career.
When I was in high school, I struggled with high amounts of stress. I was the brainiac, the book worm, your typical teacher’s pet. I’m not afraid to admit it. I wanted good grades and I had clear goals for my life. I was ambitious. But I started to run on empty. The check engine light came on in my brain and eventually I burnt myself out. My grades started going down, my homework was being turned in late and I had lost a significant amount of motivation to do anything other than watch Gilmore Girls.
That’s when my mom came up with the idea of “hookie dates.” Every other month or so my mom would have me take a day off of school to rejuvenate. We’d get our nails done, go to the movies, go shopping, or just take the day to catch up on sleep and remember what it feels like to have shaved legs. It wasn’t a free pass not to do homework. It was a free pass to be carefree for just one day. I’d finish my homework the day before, tell my teachers I would be absent, and took an entire day to giving my body and brain the TLC it desperately needed. Suddenly, my grades were back up, I was much more awake and alert in class, my homework was turned in on time and I remembered what it was like to enjoy school again.
It’s fun to plan for the future. It’s important to be ambitious and set goals. It’s important to go after your hopes and dreams with the engine revving and the wheels on spinning at the speed of light. But when that check engine light comes on, it’s time to take a break. In college, there are a certain amount of days you’re allowed to miss for each class. Check the syllabus and take advantage of those free days of hookie. You’ll be surprised how much skipping school will help you succeed in that very thing. It’s important to plan, it’s important to set goals and it’s important to do everything you can to succeed in your career. However, sometimes, what it takes to succeed, is taking a day off from working.
I may not be a scientists, but this theory has been tested, tried and proven successful. It has been scientifically and socially proven to work. I’m not a scientists, but i’m a college student. Because I dare to play hookie, I dare to succeed.