Fall Break: no break at all
As I’m sure you all know, last Friday was Fall Break, the most misleadingly named day off from school I’ve ever encountered. Don’t get me wrong, I love Fall Break. Whether I’ve stayed on campus or sojourned elsewhere, I’ve always had a great time on my day off in October. There’s always been something missing, though.
Fall Break is one day off from school. This is hardly a break, and for some, it is not even a break. I’ve never encountered anyone who has had a business class on a Friday after freshman year. I’ve also never met anyone who didn’t try to schedule as few classes as possible on Friday, many with great success. For these people, Fall Break is not a break. It is a Friday. I myself only have one class and a subsection on Fridays, and while I was certainly glad for the break, I couldn’t help but think that it could have worked out better.
There are many ways to give everyone a better Fall Break experience. The most obvious is to add another day or two to the break. We have the extra days. Shutting down classes for another day or two will not bring Washington University under the limit for accreditation. It will, however, allow everyone to benefit from the vacation’s presence and encourage more people to travel away from campus.
Washington University is a great place. It is beautiful here; the environment is everything I could ask for and more. My best friends are here. All that being said, it is only natural to want to get away every now and then. But it is hard to go anywhere. Plane tickets are expensive, and air travel can be a hassle. And a weekend is not long enough to travel anywhere significantly far. When you only have two days, who wants to spend more than two or three hours, at most, traveling? You would spend more time getting where you were going than actually being there.
Fall Break helps this problem, but does not solve it. While adding an extra day gives us that much more time to be where we travel, longer trips are still inconvenient. Another day or two would free us to go even further or do more wherever we go. Those philanthropically minded would be able to do more good, help more people. Air travel would become more reasonable because of the amount of time between the flights.
If, however, adding more days to Fall Break is not appealing, there is another way that everyone can be allowed to experience the time off. If Fall Break were any day other than a Friday, the large number of people who have free Fridays anyway would also be able to reap the benefits. And, since Fall Break generally falls in the week before, after, or even the very same week as Columbus Day–a day which many other colleges and universities have off from classes–a simple switch would be easy.
Fall Break is a good thing. It can easily be made better and I see no reason why we would not want to do so.