Your Teacher Digs Spring Break Too…


It’s fun to see how excited students get about Spring Break. Some will take a trip some place warm (Florida was a hot spot again this year), some will sleep (I can tell cause they come back without the dark circles under their eyes), and some, will cram the first half of the semester’s homework into a marathon “catch-up” session.

My son spends the week living in his pajamas. My daughters, their Spring Break is never the same week as mine and they are too young to stay at home by themselves, hang out with their grandparents. We affectionately call it “Nana Camp”. Mornings at the playground and afternoons crafting fill their days.

And here’s the scoop–I dig Spring Break too! This year, I went to my favorite beach and the top five things I did (in order):

1) Wrote

2) Slept

3) Wrote on the Beach

4) Slept on the Beach

5) Walked on the beach, Watched other people on the beach, Read, Took long showers, Played Words with Friends,  Watched TV, Ate, Talked, Swam, Visited, Shopped, Photographed the beach, Smiled.

Yep, kids of all ages enjoy Spring Break.

Photograph by K. E. Blaski 2012

Every Moment was Golden

School starts next week and the family’s busy gathering a crazy amount of school supplies while I prep for fall semester classes. A good time to take a minute and reflect on “how I spent my summer vacation.”

The big goal accomplished: finishing my second novel, tentatively titled CHOSEN SOUL. Just waiting now for those beta readers to get their feedback to me (hint, hint) so I can shine the book up and send it to my agent. I did other things too. Spent some time on the beach and in the pool and at the park. Spent an inordinate amount of time refereeing sibling battles between my two daughters. Drank a lot of diet limeade from Sonic. Grew strawberries and tomatoes for the squirrel masses living in my yard. Read a half-dozen terrific books and one not so great one. Never quite got around to spring cleaning the house. In short, summer was too short, sweet & sour, and absolutely perfect.

Why you should go and flip your tassel . . .



Tomorrow evening my college will celebrate the graduation of over 1000 students. Unfortunately, if history repeats itself only one third of those students will attend the commencement ceremony. According to four of my students who have chosen not to go . . .

“It’s not a big deal.”

“I’ll celebrate with my friends on my own.”

“It’s boring.”

“Why should I?”

My responses? In order, “It is a big deal. Bring your friends. You’re right, some of it is boring, but the part with you in it won’t be. You should go, because you can.” 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008, almost 28% of Americans had earned a college degree. When I see that statistic, I think of the 72% who had not. You’ve done something special that not everyone can achieve. Even those with the heart and mind to do it, often can’t because of circumstances beyond their control: financial, medical, emotional. . .

You’ve earned the right to walk across that stage and shake the college president’s hand to the sound of thunderous applause. Trust me, it will sound thunderous—our venue is notoriously loud. 

Everyone who’s played a role in your journey has earned the right to watch you too. Your attendance is a thank you to all of them: the family member who took on a second job and/or a second mortgage to help pay tuition, the friend who offered a shoulder during the tough times, the teacher who encouraged you to keep trying. 

My colleagues and I will take our seats in metal folding chairs facing the stage and the first thing we will do is look through the program, some of us with pencils in hand, taking immeasurable pride in marking off “our students”, ready to clap and cheer when they cross the stage. We know what it took for you to get there. 

Attending a 90 minute commencement that ends with you flipping your tassel from the right side to the left of an odd, little hat may seem a silly ritual, but it symbolizes much, much more. Commencement celebrates your transformation from student to graduate and all the new opportunities and challenges you will face with your degree in hand. After all, the word “commence” means “to start, to begin”. Embrace your new beginning.