Fall break is that breathing point in the semester where you get to relax for a moment, not think about classes and take a mental health day; or at least that’s the idea. In reality, it goes something more like this: “Because we will not be meeting next week, you have reading assignments and quizzes before we meet next;” “Project due when we return” or “Remember the exam when we get back.”
If you are a full-time student with a minimum of 12 credit hours, or taking the minimum 15 to graduate on time, and each professor assigns homework or a project or a test to study for, your fall break just turned into an extended homework break. Of course, not every professor will assign work over break, but even if some do, the lingering fear of an assignment due can taint your fall break.
Professors assigning work over break raises the question to me, “Is a two-day fall break even worth it?” If professors are still assigning work over break and the teaching never really stops, is the slight disruption of having a three-day week worth the trouble?
If your schedule looks like mine this semester, you might say, “Heck yeah, it’s worth it!” Those like myself were fortunate enough to have exams prior to break and therefore had no assignments to worry about over break, in addition to having full days of classes Monday and Tuesday missed. Everyone else might not be so lucky. My schedule in the past has not always warranted a carefree fall break, with assignments due online, in class or even only one of my heavy class days being excused.
So, is it worth it? Does the disruption of missing two days of classes warrant being stuck at home doing assignments our professors may have assigned before heading to the beach? Maybe you picked up an extra hour at work because of fall break, but maybe you also picked up two extra hours of studying.
Each semester we get an assigned week off. In the first half of fall, we get three days. For Thanksgiving, in addition to fall break, would give us a full week off of classes like spring break, but they aren’t consecutive. The days off in fall only break up two separate weeks of classes, and in the case of fall break, can be easily disregarded as a break by professors.
If fall break is not being utilized as a day off for students to relax, get away from classes or focus on physical and mental fatigue, then it only serves the purpose of disrupting a week that could be better utilized for formal lecture and other school related work. Students are typically attending school to learn and become a more competitive applicant when looking for a job or graduate programs, and if fall break is only wasting valuable lecture time and delaying winter break, then eliminate the break for the betterment of student education.