Provide students with a fall break

Faleha Quadri, Columnist

After finishing my last midterm in October, I could feel the stress slip off my shoulders. It was finally time to relax and take a break from cramming for exams. I took a quick glance at my calendar to see when the next break from classes was coming up, and I was shocked that it was more than a month later, in November. 

Due to the absence of a break between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, UT should provide students with a fall break in October to prevent burnout by giving students an opportunity to reset before continuing their studies. 

Other universities, such as Texas Christian University and University of Michigan, have incorporated fall breaks into their calendar for the past couple of years, and UT should also follow suit. 

Implementing this break would give students the opportunity to recoup and prepare for the month of school before Thanksgiving. During this time, many students feel overwhelmed about the plethora of assignments waiting for them after they finish midterms. Giving students this break could allow them the chance to plan out the rest of the month and get a head start on those assignments, or at least allow them to recharge before proceeding with the rest of the semester. 

Biology sophomore Hansa Saif provided insight on how she felt before and after her midterms. 

“For midterms, especially, you have to cram a lot, (and for) those few days beforehand, all I’m doing is studying constantly, and by the time the midterms come, I’m completely burnt out,” Saif said. “Even afterwards, all I want to do is take a break and not do anything school-related because that’s all I’ve done for like the last week.” 

Saif also thought that the fall break could make the fall semester less overwhelming. 

“(From) the time we start school until basically Thanksgiving, you don’t have any long breaks,” Saif said. “For those two and a half months you don’t have anything, and you’re just constantly  doing school and it can definitely feel overwhelming. So I think even a two-day break could be really helpful.”

Burnout is a severe problem affecting millions of college students, and the lack of a fall break only adds to the problem. 

Mark Simpson, assistant vice provost and University registrar, provided updates on the fall 2022 calendar, which includes a weeklong Thanksgiving break. 

“We’ve had a lot of conversations over the last year talking about our academic calendar, and specifically one of the requests that was shared with us from our student councils was to look at a fall break as part of this conversation,” Simpson said. “(A joint committee with the Provost’s Office and faculty counsel) evaluated fall breaks (in) October (and) November.” 

While extending Thanksgiving break is a thoughtful measure, it does not provide students a break from classes after midterms. Simpson also talked about the feasibility of implementing a fall break in October. 

“A lot of the challenges that we run into, when we look at an earlier fall break, are things like consistency of instruction, state and institutional rules and even federal rules,” Simpson said. “We need to make sure that we have the same number of instruction days per day of week. Adding a couple of days off earlier in the semester causes some complications for our labs and different programs like that.” 

Although adding a fall break in October could mean making significant alterations to the fall calendar, it’s a necessary change. The potential for a fall break to make students’ lives easier and reduce unnecessary academic stress outweighs the challenges in making it a reality.

Quadri is a business and Plan II freshman from Austin, Texas.