Well, it’s over. Two days ago, Spring semester started and my six-week Winter break finally came to a close.

One of the most under-the-radar differences about Hopkins is the fact that our semesters are 13 weeks, rather than the normal 15. Of course, this does mean that courses move faster; lectures and homework have to be compressed. However, this also means that winter break is a full six weeks.

Though this blog is more about the virtues of the full break, I would be remiss to not mention the merits of Intersession. Hopkins offers 1 or 2 credit classes that run the last three weeks in January. They’re often cool, or in niche areas (had I come back early, “Introduction to Scientific Computing in Python” was definitely calling out my name). Many of my friends and floormates came back for intersession, and everybody enjoyed the experience, whether the courses were requirement-fillers, resume-builders, or just plain interesting.

In future years, I definitely plan on coming back for intersession—the classes are just too cool to pass up. Nevertheless, this blog isn’t so much about the benefits of taking intersession courses, but the alternative: 43 days of rest, relaxation, and recharging.

My first semester here at Hopkins featured a very high workload—studying an ancient language and analyzing US-USSR foreign relations alongside my math and physics classes was probably a tad bit over-ambitious—and frankly, by my last final on December 17, I was burned out.

But now, after six weeks off, I’m just as motivated and hungry for the next wave of learning as I was back on September 1. My break started off with the week Christmas, complete with the family gatherings that always accompanies the “most wonderful time of the year”. Next came with the intense weeks of January football, and wow, what a month it was. I got to watch Clemson vs. Alabama and Green Bay vs. Dallas—two of the best games of football in recent memory—alongside my dad, my football-watching partner for as long as I can remember. Thawing out in the Florida sun at my grandparents’ house capped off my break.

weather comparison; Tampa:Baltimore

the very enviable Tampa weather

It is in this that I’d like to highlight yet another way Hopkins is unique: complete flexibility for your Winter Break. You can join one of the official intersession study abroad programs. Or come back for a 3-week intersession. Or come back for a 1-week B’More social involvement course. Or, like me, you could fully recharge and spend six weeks doing nothing strenuous. Only Hopkins lets you do that.