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.