Slamming on the Break

Huddle up, team! This week, I’ve got an important message for you:

“Break” is a very unusual word because it holds so many different meanings. It can describe the act of shattering something into smaller pieces. It can mean a phenomenal opportunity, as in a “big break”, or newly-revealed information, as in “breaking news.” It can describe an act of disobedience, like when someone “breaks the rules.” It can even refer to the moment when a quarterback, after explaining a play to his team, disengages the group huddle. For us, however, the word “break” at this moment in time means a chance to rest.

This weekend marks a very special occasion known affectionately as “Fall Break.” During this time, though it only lasts a mere four days, we get a much-deserved vacation from classes. Many students will take this opportunity to go home and visit their families, while others will remain on-campus to spend time with friends and have some post-midterm fun. No matter your plans, you must remember to savor every moment. You’ll be back to work before you know it.

When I picked up a copy of Monday’s issue of The Daily Pennsylvanian, I was struck by the unusual and somewhat depressing headlines. They were both obituaries, one for long-time Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter and the other for Penn’s own Larry Moses, who served as program coordinator for the Office of Student Affairs. I was thrown off by the morbidity of the headlines, but in reading the articles, I came to the realization that the visibility of these stories in the Penn community was tremendously important. Both men had close ties to our community, and both served as exceptional role models for Penn students. I was awestruck by the breadth of their accomplishments. I came to realize what made these men so important: they both made the most of every moment of their lives. They seized opportunities and, when none were presented to them, they took the initiative to create their own. Of course, they too took breaks, but they earned them by working tirelessly the remainder of the time. They used their rest time to revitalize themselves before returning to work each day with the passion and drive to do what they loved and make the world a better place.

In mourning the passing of people close to us, it is inevitable that one must reconsider the value of time. With such a relatively limited amount of time, it is imperative that we make good use of it, and Fall Break is no exception! This is halftime. Relax and use this opportunity to regain your inner strength. When you get back out on the field, you will have new fire in your heart to succeed for yourself and your team. When all is said and done, that’s how you’ll make the headlines someday.

That’s the plan. Everyone got it? Alright, team. Break.

**Rest in peace, Senator Specter and Mr. Moses. Our thoughts are with your families and friends in these trying times.**

(top photo by Jennifer, used under a Creative Commons license)
(bottom photo by Brisbane Falling, used under a Creative Commons license)
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