The Marist Mid-Semester “Break” Myth

Every fall, Marist awards students a short “break” in the middle of the semester. At the end of midterm week, Friday classes are canceled to give assumedly sleep-deprived and stressed out Red Foxes a much-needed long weekend. While a day off is usually considered a blessing to college students, many Marist students don’t benefit from mid-semester break at all.

“I don’t care about the break because I always have Friday’s off,” admits senior Lauren Wright, “mid-semester break is like every other weekend for me.”

During freshmen year, students learn quickly that Friday classes and 8 a.m.’s are the bane of their college existence. By senior year, students become registration experts and are completely responsible for creating their own schedule. Marist seniors typically have shortened weeks and later classes, meaning that break does not apply to their usual weekly schedule.

“As of now it’s not really a break,” agrees senior Jerry Truzzolino. “Marist should modify the schedule to give us the Thursday of midterm week off, at least.”

Aside from the schedules of advantageous seniors, the Marist community is home to many students who do not have the option to leave campus for a long weekend. Of the 1,209 full-time freshmen enrolled in the fall of 2015, there are 30 students whose permanent residencies are international. In the class of 2019, 55% of undergraduate students live outside New York State, and a total of 275 students or 23% live outside the Tri-state area.

“It all depends on where you live,” Wright continues. “If you’re in class until 9 p.m. on Thursday and spend half the day Friday traveling, is it even worth it?”

The college may accept a shortened break due to the multiple days of class excused for the Thanksgiving holiday. However, every spring semester includes an entire week for Spring Recess in March and multiple days excused for Easter in April. screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-49-46-pm

“I’m not saying we should have a week off but maybe like two or three days off instead of one,” comments senior David Hughes. “I know some people who go to other schools where they get a whole week off and still have a Thanksgiving break.”

Duke University, Smith College and Ithaca College are several institutions that have implemented a fall recess longer than Marist’s one day. Among these colleges and universities is Yale University, which recently updated their calendar during the 2012-2013 year to accommodate a five-day break during the fall semester. With the modification, the total number of class days each year remains unchanged at 128. Additionally, Harvard institutes a four-day break by dismissing classes on both Columbus Day and the day after. Closer to home, Vassar College excuses students for an entire week every October, while still honoring the Thanksgiving holiday.

The name of mid-semester “break” creates a false indication of what the weekend after midterms truly is at Marist. The general consensus among Marist students is that mid-semester break should be longer, even if it only be extended by a single day.

“We should have a fall break just like we have spring break,” says senior Victoria Noto. “I feel like the fall semester goes on forever.”

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