The days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping. It is Monday morning and you are still trying to recover from another sleep-deprived weekend. “Just this once,” you think to yourself for the sixth Monday in a row, “it would be nice if the weekend was a little longer.”
Well, maybe it could be. Here are some facts:
n Every Ivy League school (except for Yale) has time off between the start of the fall semester and Thanksgiving break.
n Twelve weeks of uninterrupted academic work and extracurricular involvement are enough to tire the most robust scholastic iron man.
n A fall break would allow students a chance to relax, visit family and friends, follow Yale athletic teams, and catch up on schoolwork.
Now imagine that there is no school today — and no school tomorrow, either. For a fleeting moment in time, Camp Yale is resurrected. If you don’t have Friday classes, fall break would permit a five-day weekend. There could be parties on Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and Monday night, and you would still have plenty of time to rest for classes on Wednesday. Instead of reading this column before class on Monday, you could be sleeping in your warm bed. Taking advantage of the long weekend, you could be sleeping in your warm bed — at home. Finally, you have an opportunity to read for pleasure. Finally, you have an opportunity to play Gran Turismo 3 until your thumbs blister. Finally, you can have a Chris Farley marathon with your suitemates and hit up Toad’s Place on the same night. Then again, you wouldn’t want to forget about that econ problem set and history reading, would you? (Did I mention that you could party for five nights straight?)
Over the past few weeks, numerous students have approached their Yale College Council representatives and suggested having a two-day fall break. Deciding to follow up on this student life issue, the YCC researched and passed a resolution (by a vote of 21-1) calling for the institution of a fall break. Adding a fall break to the academic calendar would not start the school year earlier or infringe upon the sacred weeklong Thanksgiving recess. Rather, in an effort to change as little of the 2003-2004 provisional calendar as possible, we would take a two-day academic hiatus on the Monday and Tuesday following midterm. Yet, before we can implement a fall break, the Yale faculty and the Yale College Calendar Committee must approve the plan. The Yale College Council is currently bringing this matter before both parties as well as various University administrators. As a valued constituent and Yale student who would be affected by this calendar change, you can show your support or opposition to the proposed fall break plan by participating in an online poll Monday through Wednesday at www.yalestation.org.
“But where are these two days off coming from?” you ask. “If we are not starting the school year earlier and not shortening the Thanksgiving recess, how will the calendar change?”
The answer is as follows: Giving up one day of reading week (which would still be six days long) and having the residential colleges close a day later, would allow us not to have classes on Monday Oct. 27 and Tuesday Oct. 28, 2003. We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch and we realize that some students may be opposed to this plan; however, the Yale students who proposed idea of a fall break and the YCC believe that the benefits of having two days off in the middle of the semester far outweigh the aforementioned costs.
The idea of giving Yale students an academic respite in the middle of the semester is not new. A one-day fall break was established in 1998, but many students complained that the short recess did not allow sufficient time to visit out-of-town family and friends. On the other hand, according to a Yale Daily News article written about the 1998 one-day hiatus, many students “went to watch the football game at Brown, the Head of the Charles crew regatta in Boston, or traveled home.”
At any rate, a two-day fall break would let students have their proverbial cake and eat it too — whether you’re staying in New Haven and it’s of the Claire’s Lithuanian variety, or your mom’s homemade specialty far from the Elm City.
Andrew Klaber is a junior in Trumbull College. He is treasurer of the Yale College Council.