Every time I come back from break, I hear the same phrase from my friends: “Ugh, I didn’t get anything done!” How lamentable! You mean you didn’t spend the few precious moments of time you have away from the pressures and stresses of Pratt doing more work?! But I can’t say I’m not guilty of the same. We spend so much time and money to come to this school and hone our crafts, we should put it to use when we can, right? It seems wasteful not to use the time free from assignments to pump out more content. But burnout is real.The amount of work we are expected to produce during the semester is, in a few words, a lot. On top of all the work we produce ourselves, we’re also in the process of critiquing our peers’ work, fulfilling general ed requirements and doing all sorts of extra readings. I don’t know about you, but after a few months of classes, the last thing I want to do is even think about writing. And there shouldn’t be shame in that.
It’s called break for a reason, so take one. Don’t beat yourself up for giving your brain a moment to relax and recover from the non-stop rigor of classes. If you don’t, the more tired you’ll get and the more you’ll resent the work you once loved doing. So I’ll offer a few tips on what I do to relax over break that don’t in any way involve critical thinking, intelligence or effort.
Eat a burrito! Every break, as soon as I get home, I head straight to my favorite restaurant, buy a burrito, and eat it in my car like a savage animal claiming their hunt. Nothing is a better “Welcome Home” than good, nostalgic food.
Try something new! Instead of throwing yourself against the wall of making the same thing you always do, look into something that’s always interested you. For me, it was cocktail mixing. A completely “useless” skill that serves me in no particular way as an artist, but it was something I always thought looked fun, and I had a way better time drinking Kamikazes than I would have hunched over my computer flailing my tired brain over a project that doesn’t need doing til classes begin.
Watch, read, listen to whatever you like! Instead of beating yourself up for not being productive, take some time to re-engage with media--new or old--that you love. Remind yourself of the works that first inspired you to create. Find new things to inspire you if you can. Nothing makes me more excited to create than when I find something really good, and am reminded that art is a pursuit of joy, not productivity.