OPINION: Thanksgiving break is too long, too late at K-State

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It's hard to enjoy the finer parts of autumn when you're worried about exams. (Archive photo by Rodney Dimick | Collegian Media Group)

After three months of continuous academic toil and trouble during the fall semester, Kansas State students are rewarded with a long-awaited Fall Break for the entire week, coinciding with Thanksgiving to promote holiday cheer.

When I first came to K-State, it seemed like an incredible luxury to be able to have a mini-vacation in the form of Fall Break. After all, the more time off the better, right?

Unfortunately, with my academic workload drastically increased from freshman year, I can no longer pretend this is the case.

The basic idea behind the weeklong break is to allow students more time to spend with their families, since Thanksgiving is a national holiday and many people travel for it anyway. This is a great idea—in theory.

However, I don’t think that the extended Fall Break necessarily accomplishes this.

Most working families don’t get the whole week off like K-State students do, and some don’t even get Thanksgiving Day itself off.

With the majority of K-Staters’ families having to work three or more days out of the week, not much is gained by having the break last the entire week of the holiday.

I certainly can’t speak for all families, but I’d venture to say not very many extended family members stick around for more than a few days around Thanksgiving anyway, let alone all week long.

Not to mention, the break is so late in the semester that there are only two weeks of class when students come back.

Having a weeklong break followed by only two weeks of classes and finals week is not beneficial, and I’d go as far as saying it is detrimental to student productivity.

Many students express feelings of decreased energy and motivation after having their schedule drastically disrupted by travel, right before students are expected to be highly focused with preparing for finals.

In many ways, having such a long break so close to the end of the semester just destroys academic momentum. Moreover, having a whole week off from classes decreases opportunities to access tutoring and get together with other students or professors during this crucial time at the end of the semester, when students need it most.

Of course, some will say any break is better than no break at all. However, I think most would agree that students’ needs would be served better with two shorter breaks, one mid-semester and one over Thanksgiving, not unlike other universities in Kansas. There’s nothing wrong with taking good ideas from our neighbors.

Rebecca Vrbas is a Collegian staff writer and a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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