Thanksgiving often signals the end of the semester for many UIS students and their general excitement for a break before finals. While Thanksgiving did come late this year, it seems as though, for many UIS students, it didn’t come at all due to compressed class schedules and complex final projects taking precedence over their mental health and ability to enjoy the time off with friends and family.
It is clear that UIS students are more worried about their end-of-the-semester assignments than having to navigate a tricky situation surrounding forced family fun. This problem can be attributed to the fact that, despite it being a holiday, many students have a great amount of work due before and after the festivities, so there is very little time to relax and enjoy an actual break. It would be much easier to manage the holiday and schoolwork if UIS allowed students the week of Thanksgiving off, but they are only granted Thursday and Friday off. While some may argue that students are given a lengthy weekend to relax and recharge, many UIS students do not have classes on Friday and argue that they are given time off that they already have. At the end of the day, UIS students aren’t given a substantial break at all during the sixteen week fall semester (unlike the spring semester at least providing students with a break in March), with the university granting students only Thanksgiving day and the following Friday, and offering them a pitiful one day “fall break” on a Friday in October, which is, again, a day most students already have off.
So, what could be the consequences of this lack of compassion for students? Well, unfortunately student grades and sanity suffer the most from a lack of time off. When asked about how shortened break affects her, Senior UIS student Katie Brethorst responded, “It stresses me out because I would like the chance to spend more time with my family and to get work done. I feel like I have no personal time.” When graduate student Timothy Eggert was asked about how he feels regarding the two-day break, he responded, “I would really appreciate more time off. I see the break as both a psychological reset and an academic reset too… You don’t really have that clear break when you’re working on Thanksgiving Eve.”
Clearly, UIS students aren’t happy with the shortened break and extended amount of work they are given during their time off. If the university and its professors want the best for their students and wish to see their greatest work come finals week, then perhaps considering a longer time off for the holiday or extended deadlines for final projects is a necessary adjustment that needs to be made.