James Hairston '04 had Bapst Library all to himself one afternoon during last week's spring break. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"There are a lot more of us staying around here than one might think," said Hairston, a junior from Boston who lives in the 66 Commonwealth Avenue residence hall. "I have plenty of friends to be with."
Furthermore, say the students, they have perfectly sound reasons for remaining on campus during the break. Some use the time to catch up on their studies or work at jobs; others simply find a quieter, less crowded campus as an ideal place to relax - and preferable to sitting around in an empty house.
Hairston, who majors in political science, says he could elect to go home for spring break, and does visit there. "But I have everything I need here, so why should I burden my family?"
Sophomore Ta, another Boston native, said he went home for spring break in 2002, but "there was no one around most of the time, so I figured there was no point in my being there."
This year, the computer science major decided to stay in his Walsh Hall room and continue working at the Law School. His roommates also chose to remain.
Feeny, a senior computer science major from Long Island, had planned to go on an Appalachia Volunteers service trip for spring break, but a knee injury forced him to cancel. As it turned out, he said, a group of European students he befriended during a trip last year were in Boston for the week, so he was able to show them around town.
Residential Life administrators say it is difficult to estimate how many students are on campus for spring break. Since residence halls do not close during the break, unlike the Christmas-New Year's vacation, undergraduates are not required to notify the Residential Life Office as to whether or not they are staying.
But whatever the number of students who remain, they do have company: Most residence assistants stay on duty in the residence halls during the week.
BC at spring break may not be as solitary as the Overlook Hotel in off-season - the fictional setting of "The Shining" - but it is certainly nowhere near as bustling: no clusters of students streaming across the Campus Green or the Quad, no long lines in the dining halls.
So although Ta had to adjust his routine to accommodate the reduced schedule in the dining halls, he did enjoy the relative calm.
"It is a little quieter around the dorm, in general, but there's also no one to tell you you're being too loud."
Feeny, who acknowledged that he was "singing out loud more" in his semi-solitude, was somewhat ambivalent about his experience.
"You'd think you would have a lot of time to do homework, but I do better working under pressure, so I haven't been getting as much done as I would have liked," he said. "It's cool, though, to not have all the craziness for a week.
"But if I had the choice again," he added, "I would have gone somewhere."
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