As this is the Review’s last issue before Thanksgiving Break, let us take time to discuss all the joys of the holidays.
After all, ‘tis the season to be exhausted, sickly and overstressed.
School has been in session for 11 weeks. Eleven weeks without rest, apart from Labor Day, that is. And we have one more week to get through before we can take a breath.
Yes, the question of scheduling a weeklong Thanksgiving Break instead of a Fall Break has come and gone, but, considering the effects that three straight months of studying have had on students these past two years, it is relevant all the same.
With any luck, this answer isn’t set in stone, because, from our point of view, the negatives outweigh the positives in this case.
A week at Thanksgiving may provide those students who live outside of Oregon more travel time, and students in general get to spend more time with their families, but personal well-being during the months preceding should still be considered.
For one thing, only three weeks separate the end of Thanksgiving Break and the beginning of Winter Break; that isn’t much time to wait for a few extra days off.
In the working world, employees don’t get summers or Fall Breaks off; the majority of these workers, however, aren’t full-time students who are presented with loads of knowledge that they are expected to comprehend.
Toward the end of the semester, whether through their own procrastination or the nature of their courses, students are faced with an increase in exams, readings, papers, etc. As the days get shorter, the hours seem to quicken.
Not to have too much of a “Days of Our Lives” “sands-through-the-hourglass” moment, but time really does fly during the last few weeks of the semester, raising stress levels right along with them.
We are all taught that sleep is essential for learning because it allows the brain to make connections between bits of information and, therefore, increases our ability to comprehend.
On a larger scale, Fall Break accomplishes the same thing. More than just a time to play catch-up, it allows for better understanding, and isn’t that what education is about?
Yes, we only have one break during Spring Semester, but Spring Break falls in the middle of the term, not at the end. Its rejuvenating effects are much better placed.
Aside from mental exhaustion, the threat of both H1N1 and seasonal flu strains is higher this time of year. Without this respite, student are more likely to wear their bodies down to the point that they are more susceptible to illness.
On an interpersonal level, stress, sickness and friendships certainly don’t mix well, and this buildup of tension can take its toll outside the classroom, as well — intentionally or not.
As relationships can also be a point of stress in themselves, once again the vicious cycle continues.
Looking across campus, the increase in class absences is certainly evidence that students are run-down, even if it is too soon to tell if this calendar switch has had any adverse effects on grades themselves.
This is not to say that students weren’t stressed when there was a Fall Break, but, for now, we think it was a better solution.
So enjoy your break, because it’s been a long time coming.
-The Review Editorial Board