As students, we savor the days we are excused from classes. The same zeal with which we used to anticipate Christmas day as children is now applied to every benign holiday between the first day of classes and finals. We plan for these days and revel in them, whether we use them to sleep, catch up on homework or just to de-stress.
That being said, Baylor’s traditional fall break, a school-invented holiday that cancels classes on a seemingly random mid-semester Friday, is simply a one-day extension of a normal weekend thrown in to appease overworked students. Students, faculty and staff alike would be better served if Fall Break was nixed in favor of a full-week break for the Thanksgiving holiday.
This year, fall break falls on Oct. 21, almost two months after Labor Day and almost a month before Thanksgiving break. In 2015, it fell on Oct. 30. While many of us have assumed that fall break is intended to give students a chance to regroup before midterms, this date is often after the typical midterm period, and even when it does fall closer to the traditional midterm dates, professors often attempt to schedule tests before the break so that students can relax over the long weekend.
While we do appreciate the break, the three-day weekend is too short for students to really take advantage of the class-free day. For students who live out of state, fall break isn’t long enough to be worth the money to fly home, and its place in the middle of the semester often means that students are feeling the pressure in their classes and will opt to spend the weekend studying instead of de-stressing.
Many students face some of the same challenges in regards to the Thanksgiving holiday. Traditionally, Baylor designates the Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving as the beginning of the break, giving students, faculty and staff five days of vacation, including the weekend. With airfare skyrocketing near holidays, the short break isn’t always enough time to make the trip home worth it to out-of-state students. While some of these students simply spend Thanksgiving in Waco, others skip Monday and Tuesday classes in order to spend time with their families before the end of the semester.
Instead of two awkwardly short holidays, Baylor should combine the days off, giving students a full week of break over Thanksgiving. This would enable to students to go home and enjoy time with their families over the holiday, as well as give us more time to study before the end-of-year push.
Nixing fall break in favor of a full week at Thanksgiving would decrease the number of Tuesday/ Thursday classes by one, upsetting Baylor’s schedule, but by adding an extra day of Tuesday classes at the end of the semester, pre-finals, would correct the issue. For example, this year, Baylor ends classes on Monday, Dec. 5. By prolonging classes until Tuesday, Dec. 6, we could compensate for the extra day off over the Thanksgiving holidays.
We appreciate Baylor’s attempts to give us reprieve in the middle of the semester, but it just isn’t long enough to be utilized effectively by the student body. Giving up fall break for an extended Thanksgiving holiday would give more students the opportunity to truly enjoy and make use of the break.