With spring break ’05 upon us, many Yale students have packed their bags and are about to say goodbye to New Haven — off to enjoy two school-free weeks at home, on vacation or visiting friends and family. Bathing suits have been bought, diets followed (ahem), and schoolwork has been thrown by the wayside – the way, wayside.

However, some students have a different kind of spring break planned. The kind, to be more specific, that takes place right here on campus – in glorious New Haven. It’s shocking, yes, but also true. From dedicated (or procrastinating) senior-essay writers to motivated student athletes, a surprisingly large number of Yalies linger long after the last midterm ends.

But what goes down in New Haven after roomies and suitemates hug, cry and then, well, bounce?

So close but yet so far, many Yale seniors find themselves living it up in New Haven for their last spring break. Partay!

“Living it up,” however, to those unfamiliar with senior lingo, implies hour after hour spent staring at a blank computer screen desperately trying to finish one’s senior essay. Some seniors have put writing their essays off until the very last minute, while others stick around only to perfect their nearly finished masterpieces.

Blood, sweat and tears right? Katie Baker ’05, double-majoring in economics and history (ouch!), said she will be spring breaking in the “Have.”

“While all of my friends will be participating, or ogling, wet T-shirt contests in Panama City or having epiphanies on mountain tops in Peru, I’ll be sitting in the corrosive lighting of CCL writing page after page [of my senior essay],” Baker said.

But Baker said there are positive, though unexpected, aspects of spending spring break on campus.

“To be honest, I thought I was going to be totally dreading staying in the sweet, sweet Have’ for any longer than was completely necessary,” Baker said. “But I’ve actually gotten kind of excited to have a more low-key couple of weeks and maybe go to some places that I don’t hang out at as much when school is in session.”

From seniors to singers, the New Haven scene will be rocking this spring break — rocking without instruments, that is. Inconceivable! How do they carry a tune?

Yale’s sizzling, all-girl a cappella group, New Blue, will be in town recording a CD. And though hours in the studio can be grueling, there is plenty of downtime for the girls to kick back, relax and unwind.

But what is there to do?

Lauren Curtis ’05, an alumna of the group, is no stranger to the glamorous life of a musical icon. Having spent a previous spring break in New Haven, Curtis admitted that “vacationing” on campus can be tough. The weather is dreary, and friends are few in number. But, thanks to her fellow group members and especially to the leaders of New Blue, Curtis said, she was able to make the best of a less-than-ideal spring break.

“The New Blue leaders did a good job of trying to make the experience fun and warm at heart — cooking group meals, watching movies, etc.,” Curtis wrote in an e-mail.

To be sure, time with friends is exactly what many of Yale’s athletes are in store for come spring break. The lightweight crew team, for one, will be training in New Haven all vacation long — think early morning workouts, ERG tests and weigh-ins. Let the good times roll.

Truthfully though, rower Trevor Young ’06 said, the next two weeks promise to be far more than sweaty brows and sore muscles. And what’s more, he added, he knows the hard work will pay off in the end.

“It’s all in your mental approach,” Young said. “Frankly, I believe that staying in tropical New Haven will only help us to have very strong performances at our races this spring.”

Young also has a very scientific explanation for why city training is so beneficial.

“Based on the strengthening effects that cooler weather seems to have on Canadian lumberjacks, I think the combination of New Haven weather and our frequent donning of flannel will produce strong to quite strong results,” Young said.

Nicely put.

And what do New Haven businesses do during the two-week Yalie hiatus? Mohamad Masaud, a manager at Gourmet Heaven, put it best when asked how he felt about the absence of Yalies over spring break.

“It’s too slow. It’s too empty,” Masaud lamented. “It’s dead.”

Still, Eli pride perseveres. Even in these dark times (i.e. February and March), Yale faculty members do their best to ensure that the students who remain in New Haven still have a little spring break fun. Branford College master Steven Smith described one of the events he has planned for the upcoming vacation.

“We do a dinner in the master’s house for students who are stuck or stranded here in New Haven over spring break as a way of providing a little community spirit,” Smith said in an e-mail.

Although sticking around New Haven may have its drawbacks (it’s not the Bahamas, that’s for sure), don’t underestimate the potential for on-campus fun during break. And remember, someday you too might be writing a senior essay.

Until then, though, surf’s up, dude.

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