Editorial: Lengthen Thanksgiving Break

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Author: 

Occidental’s
fall academic calendar may be acceptable for students from California, but it thoroughly
fails students from the east coast or Hawaii . Next year, the college should make the change it has surely pondered for a while now by cancelling
Fall Break and making Thanksgiving a week long.

Students
within a few hour’s drive of home may balk, arguing that the stretch between late
August and late November is too long with no break. But the interests of a
group of students far away from home who either cannot go home, have to spend a
fortune and dozens of hours in travelling time for a short stay or miss out on
class time to take the entire week outweighs the other concerns.

Occidental
should be doing everything possible to make sure students can get home to be
with their families for Thanksgiving, not making the decision of whether to go
home or not a tough one in which a student has to weigh whether a short stay
with family is worth the financial burden of an expensive airline ticket.  

And when students
solve the problem by flying home early and missing class on the Monday and
Tuesday before Thanksgiving, it not only hurts the students who are missing out
on a very expensive education, but all of the other students in the class, as
professors often respond by cancelling class or not delving into new material.

Occidental
needs to attract and appeal to a wide swath of students all over the country to
grow and increase in prestige. That goal has yet to be accomplished with nearly
half of its students from California. There is not an easy answer for how to improve in this area, but making Thanksgiving break a week long would certainly show the
college’s commitment to understanding the needs of students that live on tight
budgets far away from home.

While having
a week off just a couple of weeks before having a month off may not be optimal,
it is better than a significant group of students not being able to spend
Thanksgiving with family or having the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving
be unproductive academic days. The college could even consider moving the start
of the semester to the Tuesday after Labor Day (make the long weekend
orientation) and send students back for Winter Break a little less than a week
later than the current schedule to help spread things out. This would also
solve the problem of a ridiculously slow start to the academic year that is
broken up by a half week followed by a labor-day shortened week.

The college
has shown an ability to change its academic schedule in fundamental ways, as it
did this year with ten minute passing periods that eliminated the lunch periods
student used to meet with their clubs, spread awareness on the quad or
socialize. Now it has the opportunity to make a schedule change that would
actually benefit students and make their lives a little bit easier. It is time
for the college to stop waiting and starting working to make this change happen. 

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