It’s almost here… spring break. That glorious week during which we get to head home and see family and high school friends. Some of us, like many college students, may head to the beach to get some much-needed sun rays and warmth. However, as I was planning my spring break this year, I hit a few speed bumps when I noticed the dates. This year, Graceland’s spring break is February 27- March 6.
I was shocked. How am I supposed to get a tan when it’s still winter? And after shooting a quick text to my hometown besties, I found that their spring breaks aren’t until the weeks of March 6th or 13th. Now I won’t be able to see them until Easter or summer break!
To understand why our spring break is at such a different time, I talked to Tammy Everett, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. Everett described how the spring break dates are a result of the new academic calendar without a winter term. She says the calendar was changed as a retention effort. “The Enrollment and Persistence Committee felt like winter term was too much space in between semesters, and, as a result, we lost students. The idea is that if there’s just a two-week break over the holiday, then students would be ready to come right back.”
This isn’t all bad. Starting the semester earlier means we get out earlier. April 28 is the last day of exams. When I was applying for a summer job and told my future employer that I could start on May 1st, she was ecstatic. I expect that many Graceland students might be hired in favor of other students who can’t start as early. Everett agrees that “starting summer early gives students a jump on the job market.”
Because our semester began so much earlier than in the past, midterm fell earlier. Everett says, “Having spring break at midterm is just tradition. It doesn’t have to be that way.” Faculty determine the calendar every year, and then have it approved by the Board of Trustees. “If the faculty knew that students didn’t like when spring break fell, they will certainly listen and might change it. Anyone is welcome to voice those concerns. We aren’t locked into any certain week.”
However, the calendar for next year will be taken to the faculty next week. If students want spring break at a later time, they need to take action now. Everett recommends talking to the Graceland Student Government about sending a representative to the calendar meeting. GSG would have to know how the student body as a whole feels about this issue, and students have different opinions. Maddy Shelton thinks “spring break fits well, because it’s right after midterms,” while Serra Ritner says, “I’m not a fan. I’ve talked to a whole lot of my friends at home and none of their spring breaks are the same week.” Students have to decide whether they like having spring break at midterm, or would rather take a break during a week when more college students are out and when the weather is warmer.
Even though I don’t get to see my friends from home next week, I’m excited to see my family. And I’m glad that the faculty who make the calendar are willing to listen to student opinions. Do you like spring break where it is? Or do you want to change it? Either way, talk to GSG and make sure your voice is heard before they decide on next year’s calendar.
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