In summation: yes.
Well, sort of.
I have been a student since pre-Kindergarten, and because I am now in the 17th grade, which is better known as a first-year graduate student, I am considering myself a well-established life long learner. The more I learn, the more I feel like I need to learn.
Information really is wealth, as Dr. Jay Gillette would say.
Well, sort of.
Despite years of making my way through the education system, it was not until my first year of graduate school that I heard of the idea that people actually do school work over the holidays.
When assigned work over the holidays in class, I sat in my chair and silently thought to myself: How could it be? Work on labor day and thanksgiving? This must be against some sort of law.
I was really perplexed by this idea. The bewilderment was not that we were given work (because that is typical), but that we were actually expected do work over break, one could hear the seriousness about attending school online over the holiday in their voices. It was strange, different, unusual, and it sparked my interest.
Just like I had realized on many other occasions before, it was evident that the Center for Information and Communication Sciences held itself to a higher standard than most graduate programs.
While in CICS course, ICS 602 Human Communication Process and Theory, A keyword that I repeatedly heard from Professor Gillette was: differentiate. The key question: “How can I differentiate myself from people around me?”
Obviously, one of the first ways is while others are taking a holiday break: use a fraction of the time working towards self-mastery. The truth is, differentiation is all about continually working towards self-mastery, even during the holidays.
The question must then become: “Why is differentiation so important?”
Despite the myth, differentiation is not important because it makes you different from other people or that it sets you are apart. Differentiation is important because it allows you the freedom to become who you are. You are different from every other person that you encounter. Differentiation is about your personal best and being different from the person you were yesterday. The goal of differentiation should never be about being competitive with another person. “Comparison is the thief of joy,” said Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States of America. Differentiation is always looking for an opportunity to improve for your purposes. Differentiation is a form of self-mastery, and self-mastery is an ongoing process.
Just in case you’re wondering: I am not there yet, but I am getting better.
In conclusion, my hypothesis is that the professors encourage us to do work over breaks because they want us to be able to spend all the time that we have in graduate school to become masters.
Despite this, ICS 601 Professor, Dr. Ray Steele, also encourages students to take some time to just laugh, which is quite possibly the best remedy for graduate school level work that I have heard yet.
For this reason, over winter break I will spend time with family and friends laughing, but also improving my skill set as master student at CICS.