University of Colorado student Andrew Nelson, hitting the books at Norlin Library on Monday, said his schoolwork is preventing him from leaving Boulder for spring break.
Zak Wood
University of Colorado student Andrew Nelson, hitting the books at Norlin Library on Monday, said his schoolwork is preventing him from leaving Boulder for spring break.

BOULDER, Colo. –

Ah, spring break.

This week traditionally is a time for University of Colorado students to relax, unwind and get away from the stress of their everyday routines.

Then again, maybe not.

Whether they’re using the extra time to catch up or to get ahead, homework appears to be the No. 1 reason some CU students just can’t seem to get away from campus — even when it’s nearly deserted.

“I have three 10-page research papers that are all due around the same time in April, and my chances at grad school depend on me doing exceptionally well on a couple of them,” junior Jonathan Provisor said Monday.

Slaving away next to a pile of books stacked on a desk at Norlin Library — which, due to the general dearth of students, was quiet even for a library — Provisor said his unorthodox use of spring break has a few silver linings.

“It’s a lot easier to find a quiet space with a power outlet,” Provisor said. “And there’s not as many people crossing my field of vision or having conversations nearby to distract me.”

The history major said he plans on getting a day of skiing in at Breckenridge this week, and looks forward to not feeling overwhelmed by looming assignments — a sentiment shared Monday by other spring-break lingerers.

“I don’t like to cram,” said sophomore Luch Hak, who decided to use his vacation time to prepare for finals at the University Memorial Center.

Unlike Provisor, however, studying wasn’t Hak’s original plan.

“I looked up plane tickets to go home to Florida for break about three weeks ago, and I ended up buying the reverse itinerary that I needed,” Hak said.

Instead of departing from Denver for Jacksonville, Fla., Hak mistakenly purchased tickets from Jacksonville to Denver. After pleading with Air Tran to adjust the goof, they still insisted on charging a $300 rebooking fee — which Hak couldn’t afford.

“I still get a credit toward my next flight, and I’m planning to go home in May instead,” Hak said. “But when I told my family, they sounded kind of disappointed. They didn’t make it sound like they were, but I know they are.

“I haven’t seen them in almost a year.”

After hearing about Hak’s misfortune, senior Rachel Ptaszek’s “half-break” doesn’t sound half bad. She will leave to visit family in Minneapolis on Wednesday, but has a few loose ends to tie up first.

“My thesis is due on Friday and I don’t get any work done at home,” said Ptaszek, a psychology and sociology major.

Ptaszek’s thesis — “Understanding, Mentoring and Identity within Ethnic Academic Youth-Based Programs” — has been in the works since last semester and currently is 72 pages long. She said she plans to get even more done before she leaves, since the mostly empty campus is helping her focus.

“I like working at the UMC, but I usually come in at night so it’s quieter,” Ptaszek said. “It’s nice to have it just as quiet during the day.”

Trumpet-performance major Caitlin Brody also is taking advantage of the temporary quiet to get in five hours per day of rehearsal in some pretty unconventional places.

“I can just practice wherever I want without having to worry about getting yelled at or kicked out,” said Brody, a senior.

Though usually off limits, Brody said that spots such as Grusin Hall, Chamber Hall and even the Imig Music Building’s locker rooms will be open and ideal practice locations this week.

Of course, for most students, hanging around campus during spring break is something they would just as soon avoid.

Graduate student David Cheeseman, no stranger to hitting the books while on break, spent Monday snowboarding at Eldora Mountain Resort.

“I try to get off campus to do work if I can help it,” Cheeseman said. “I don’t like to sit on campus in a cube doing homework.”