I have my own ideas… let’s explore them together, shall we? And then you can let me know what you think in the comments!
Before I begin, let me clarify some things for readers from other countries who may not be familiar with US school schedules. Typically, the fall semester runs from mid-August to mid-December, while the spring semester runs from mid-January to mid-May. Obviously, this may change somewhat depending not only on your level of schooling but also your individual institution. But those are the times we are generally in school.
First things first: Motivation. I have to admit that both semesters are equal for me in this regard. I love stocking up on new supplies during back-to-school sales, filling out a new planner, and catching up with all my friends after a semester spent apart. There’s just something about the mild yet comfortable weather and the leaves changing color that puts me in the mood to tackle a new semester!
And yet I also get pumped for the spring semester each time it rolls around. Since winter break at my school – the University of Iowa – ends around the second week of January, I feel like the new year is the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Maybe I place too much emphasis on the calendar rather than realizing I can begin any time, but it works for me. I’m always determined to make the year ahead of me rock and this translates into renewed academic effort.
Moving on to the weather, I can say with confidence that I love heading back to school in the fall because it’s bright and sunny – still a little summery, in fact! I’m NOT a fan of how dark and cold life becomes by the end of that semester, but at least we have the holidays and all their festivity + light to look forward to!
The reason why I prefer fall weather to that of spring is that going to class in January, February and, heck, sometimes even March is miserable. I don’t know what the climate is like where you live, but winter in Iowa is motherfucking brutal. While I enjoy ending the semester in the sunshine, the earlier cold weather sort of cancels that out for me. I get super grumpy when it’s cold out!
Finally, there are the breaks. Here, spring semester definitely has an edge. Unlike many other schools, UI doesn’t give its students a fall break, but instead allows us to take slightly over a week off for Thanksgiving.
I appreciate being able to truly relax and enjoy being home then, but at the same time slogging on through so many weeks of classes can be challenging. (Remember, we start partway through August!) Such a schedule also means that we’re back at school for only about three weeks before winter break begins, which sometimes feels pointless and whiplash-y.
Spring break, on the other hand, arrives at precisely the right time. Landing in the middle of March, it evenly divides the first (and colder!) half of the semester from the second. Although there aren’t any holidays to speak of during this break, I love it because it helps me to refresh + recharge in a way that is tougher for Thanksgiving break to do. (Because I’m pretty well burnt-out by that point in the fall.)
OH FIDDLESTICKS. I seem to have written my way into a corner! My level of motivation is roughly the same in both semesters, I prefer fall weather to spring weather, and I feel the break in the spring comes at a far more sensible time than the one in the fall does… which means, all things considered, I love both semesters equally. For different reasons, it’s true, but in the end this little exercise proved to me that there is no one semester better than the other, but that each has both good and bad parts.
What do you think? Do you prefer one of the semesters over the other? Why or why not?