At Stony Brook, classes during the fall 2014 semester will run from Sept. 2 to Nov. 27 with no breaks in between. Other schools, like SUNY Potsdam, have a fall break. (SAHER JAFRI / THE STATESMAN)

On Oct. 13, I woke up to a phone blown up with Snapchats (not to boast about my popularity with the app, though I do tend to send some pretty introspective toilet selfies). I was saddened by my many snaps, all of which were taken by friends relaxing at home during their fall break, or Columbus Day weekend. What is fall break, you may ask? It is a day or two off in the middle of the fall semester. In other words, an essential break for all college students everywhere.

Like most of the Stony Brook population, I find myself drowning in homework, essays and labs for the duration of the week. If I ever get a spare moment of free time after finishing my work, I will use every precious second of those few minutes to either eat, sleep or bathe, three things I struggle to remember are necessary during midterms. Most universities seem to understand that having three months straight of classes and continuous work is a lot for students to handle.

According to Stony Brook’s academic calendar, classes run from Sept. 2 to Nov. 27 with no breaks in between. This is just shy of three months, from just barely the third week of school all the way until Thanksgiving break. Excluding community colleges, 23 of the SUNY schools have either a fall break, Columbus Day break or Yom Kippur off. Stony Brook, Buffalo, Canton and Oswego are the only schools without any kind of a fall break. Does Stony Brook not see the trend here? Do we want to be that school that is always two weeks late on these things? Come on Stony, all the cool kids are doing it.

But Stony Brook should also take note that these small, fall breaks are popular for a reason. It is a mental break for students. Some much needed extra time in the semester to catch up on readings, studying, or, in many cases, sleep. Some of us really only need the time off to breathe. Having classes for several weeks straight is a marathon we have to sprint to make it through alive. A fall break would give those a chance to go home before Thanksgiving without having to miss class and allows them time with their families without having to wait the long three months to do so.


Being one of the four students that came to Stony Brook from upstate, getting home means a $70 train ticket and six hours of my life on public transportation. I do not have the luxury of just merrily skipping home every weekend. It takes at least a week of planning to find the cheapest tickets at the most convenient times. And with my Friday classes, going home on a normal weekend would give me all of one day to enjoy the wonders of home before having to pack up all my things and leave a few hours later to get back for classes.

I feel like my request is not a huge one, or at least it should not be. And I am not the only one on campus quietly seething at the fact that I had to go to class on Columbus Day. Our fall break does not need to be huge, (though I will not lie, I almost started an application to SUNY Potsdam when I saw their fall recess was five days long.) All I want is a long weekend to recuperate from the hectic, non-stop strife of my classes so I can go home for a few days, jump into my own bed and cuddle with my cat. I know for a fact that my sanity would thank Stony Brook greatly.



  1. I’m not even from upstate but out of state and with the whole family abroad. Just a single day off would be so great, even if that means I’ll still be on campus. Stony brook sucks.

  2. I commute from an hour away, and so I have to be careful with my days off, since the roads can be tricky at the end of the semester. Even so, I always have to take a day off around midterms just to catch up on my reading. A long weekend isn’t too much to ask. Then maybe I could catch up on my reading AND finally see sunlight again.

  3. I completely agree. My sister goes to SUNY Fredonia and has the Thursday and Friday before Columbus day off for “Fall Break,” a term that even my mom is confused about because I don’t have it and she thinks it’s a weird concept, but agrees Stony Brook needs to offer students a break. As a band member I already start school a week early for band camp so what’s one more week so that I can keep my sanity in between Labor Day and Thanksgiving?? Please Stony Brook?!?

  4. Never actually get time off to hang with my high school buddies because I just have no break. People say we get a longer X-mas break but I don’t see it. Hope school changes it.

  5. As a kid from Western New York with a 10 hour train home, a bigger commute than a lot of kids from surrounding states, I haven’t been home even once or seen my parents since I got here first weekend. I’m beginning to hear the temptation to skip class for a day off now.

  6. Totally agree, we spend more time in school than most other universities with greater courseloads and less time off. I’d be content if they wanted to keep the same days but start a little early just so we could have a 3 or 4 day weekend in the middle of that long 3 month run. I understand not observing religious holidays because there are so many but what about the federal holidays?

  7. As somebody else from upstate I couldnt agree more. Three months of never being able to go home, or leave these dorms is horrible. It takes a toll to be in this school environment for so long without end. Every other school gives these breaks because they see the obvious benefit of having a student body who is not constantly stressed out. Furthermore, what is the logic behind a spring break if there is no fall break? I’m not trying to say they should remove spring break, simply drawing a parallel

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