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UMBC students need a break

Thanksgiving break isn’t enough to decompress

By Holly Vogtman

Staff Writer

Some schools are adding a Fall break or are lengthening Thanksgiving break. UMBC only give a Thanksgiving break. UMBC leaves no breathing room or family time for students.

   Many students can finally breathe after the completion of a hectic midterm week, but the stress doesn’t stop at UMBC — there’s no Fall break to be found.

Unlike many other universities, UMBC only offers two class days of Thanksgiving vacation along with the weekend that follows.

A Fall break or an extension of Thanksgiving Break should be inserted into the calendar due to high levels of stress that ensue during midterms and because the current Thanksgiving break is too short for students to travel long distances to visit with their families.

“According to the Spring 2013 NCHA Survey filled out by UMBC students and students across the US … 83.0% of UMBC students who completed the survey reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do in the last 12 months,” said Shaikh Iqbal, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major and President of Active Minds, the UMBC mental health awareness organization.

Requesting a Fall break or an extension to Thanksgiving break is not a cry to just get off a week of school, but an actual situation where time off could improve students’ high stress levels and general mental health.

Other universities are beginning to add in an extension to Thanksgiving Break or a whole separate Fall Break to better the experience for their students.

Some of these universities include Ivy Leagues: Princeton, Duke and Notre Dame all have one-week breaks in the middle of the Fall Semester.

With full support from their president, Richard C. Levin and Dean Mary Miller, Yale has also added a Fall Break in addition to their extension of Thanksgiving Break.

In a letter to the faculty, Levin and Miller wrote, “It has long been a concern … that, particularly for freshmen, the unbroken period of 11 or 12 weeks of classes between the start of the fall semester and the Thanksgiving recess can be challenging.”

The nonstop academic period from August to the end of November creates a lot of stress for the students of UMBC and, by the time Thanksgiving comes, the four day break seems like a tease.

Classrooms start to empty out after midterms as many students decide to take their own break and skip classes anyway because everyone needs rest especially amidst the grueling academic schedule of university students.

Some students also take off more days during Thanksgiving week for travel and time with their family.

A senior media and communication studies major, Oyin Ogungbemile said, “I think we should get a week break because for some students spending time with family is essential during the holidays and having only those two days plus the weekend is not enough to enjoy family time.”

A Fall Break or Thanksgiving Break extension would be a benefit for both students and professors as a period of rest to further prepare for the upcoming weeks of the semester full of final exams and projects.