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End Fall Break!

November 4, 2009

by Charlie Sprague
End Fall Break!

I'm very serious about this idea.  There are no good justifications for having Fall Break. Coming only a month and a half into the Fall semester, Fall Break isn’t necessary to give students a break from their workload -- they’ve just had three months of summer.  At only two days (plus the standard two days of the weekend), Fall Break does not give students the opportunity for meaningful travel, especially since one needs to return to campus on the last day of Fall Break. For many students, traveling back and forth takes about a day itself, so a quarter of the break is spent in transit. Given how short Fall Break is, many students and professors simply use the time to catch up on work or get started on thesis. It isn't much of a break at all.

Of course, an extra trip with friends to Vegas or Joshua Tree is fun, but it shoudn't be a serious priority for the college to consider when scheduling, especially when those days could be put to better use. And those few days of Fall Break could. Ending Fall Break would make a week long Thanksgiving Break possible.*  This extension would give students more time to spend with their families.  Especially considering that many families travel for Thanksgiving, a longer break would make it easier to accommodate that travel.  There is clearly a huge demand for a longer Thanksgiving break considering the number of students that decide to leave campus early and the number of classes that are canceled the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to the idiocy of class on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It'd be better for students, their families, and even professors to extend Thanksgiving Break. Professors would not have to teach half empty classes, and with a longer break, they could give their students more time to prepare for what we all wish we had more time for: finals.

Ending Fall Break to make Thanksgiving Break a week long would also allow people to purchase cheaper plane tickets home.  Look how cheap a Southwest flight home would be for me if I could leave on Monday (just $54, compared to $114 on Wednesday)! When one considers the thousands of students, faculty members, and administrators who fly to be with their families during Thanksgiving break, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings.  For the environmentalist, ending fall break would probably reduce the college’s carbon footprint as many students would travel back home one less time.

Instead of having two short breaks during fall semester that both only feel like extended weekends, let's have a full-length holiday for Thanksgiving. If for no other reason... it'll make your mother happy.

____________ * My proposal would add one extra day of break, but, if we need to keep the exact same number of days off, we could simply start classes on Monday during Fall semester rather than Tuesday.

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