University schedules can be quite rigorous for students, who must account for hefty academic obligations, recreational opportunities, social activities and general health maintenance when managing their time. As incredible and revered as the college experience is, students could use some time away from it mid-semester to rejuvenate themselves after the stretch run. Unfortunately, UConn doesn’t appear to share this sentiment. Take a look at this year’s academic calendar, and you’ll notice that Labor Day, a week long Thanksgiving recess and a week long Spring recess are the only breaks afforded to students across seven months of operation. The most egregious aspect — particularly of this semester — is that 13 of 15 weeks take place before said Thanksgiving recess, which is then followed by the last week of classes and final examinations. Such disregard for students’ academic and general well-being truly creates a recipe for disaster and should open our minds to the possibility of instilling another week long break during the fall semester.
UConn’s lack of a week long fall break induces mental and emotional fatigue and distress. For one, we simply aren’t biologically designed for unlimited engagement in any venture; after all, our minds and bodies are bound to become overwhelmed and sickly if we don’t tread cautiously. From an emotional standpoint, imagine already feeling as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders before the temperature of the pressure cooker that is this university rises. Frustratingly enough, UConn doesn’t provide many avenues through which to escape said pressure cooker, as you remain enclosed within it for a disturbingly lengthy period — especially if you live on the other side of the country or are an international student — and must harmonize with a clutter of supplemental ingredients that might otherwise overpower your tastes. It’s downright ridiculous and reckless that UConn expects the best from its students as it tacitly permits such deterioration while other prestigious universities nationwide allocate an additional leisure week or set of days.
So then how can UConn preserve students’ academic and general well-being? Simple: Take a hint from its peers and accommodate students’ needs via a mid-semester fall break! To account for this, we could begin classes a week earlier (our summer break is rather generous as is). Free days beyond this break would also be ideal — and no, the stubbornly rare snow day doesn’t suffice. Major religious observations, Veterans Day and Election Day would all be worthwhile candidates. In tandem with this initiative, professors should reorganize and cut back on their respective curricula; the onus shouldn’t be placed entirely upon students to decide what constitutes an appropriate workload for a given duration. Ultimately, this would enable a win-win scenario, allowing students to thrive all around and thereby enhancing the university’s reputation.
In the spirit of the season, it’s safe to say that UConn’s autumn semester schedule falls short and leaves much to be desired. To any administrators reading this: Please don’t allow students to follow suit by neglecting their need for occasional relief from the hardships of university life.
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By the Editorial Board