What could the cancellation of spring break mean for students?

Opinion by Angelle Cortes

As the Spring 2021 semester starts to creep closer, students are anxious to know what the plans are. Other institutions like the University of Michigan decided to eliminate their spring break back in September. 

Currently the University of Illinois’s plan, pending academic Senate approval, is to cancel spring break and add three non-institution days that will be in the middle of the week to avoid any travel for long weekends. In addition, the spring semester will be delayed one week so students get more of a winter break. 

While I’m grateful that the University is making the right decision to cancel spring break, I still feel somewhat opposed to it. I’m not the traditional college student that plans a trip to Cancun with friends or family, rather sleep all day and aimlessly go on my laptop. 

Spring break for me means a break from my hectic schedule full of classes, work, and RSOs. I can sit back and relax for maybe the one and only time during the spring semester. The break allows me to recharge and get ready to finish the second half of the semester.

Without the one week break I feel like the majority of the student body can agree that we’re going to be overworked. The spring semester doesn’t really have a day off of school. It’s all gas no breaks from January until May. 

During the fall semester we have Labor Day and a whole week for Fall Break, which I think is good enough, but I wish we could squeeze in another day in October. Prior to transferring to the University, I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. The only difference in our fall semester was that U of I got a week of Fall Break, while UIC only got four days. 

The Fall 2018 semester, at UIC that week, I had class Monday through Wednesday. Then Thursday through Sunday was my break before I had to head back Sunday night. I don’t know why UIC still does this, but I personally dislike it. People I knew made great points, saying “What if you lived in the dorms and were out of state? It would be a waste of plane fare back and forth to only spend three to four days with your family.”

I mean people would have ditched their classes earlier in the week in favor of going home early. However, some professors were super stingy and made classes mandatory or you had a lab that you couldn’t miss. 

Since I only lived 30 minutes away from UIC, it wasn’t so much of a problem for me. However, the semester before I transferred here, when I was still sure I was going to Physical or Occupational Therapy school, I was taking a chemistry class. For that class I had lectures on Monday’s and Wednesday’s.

I don’t know if my professor did this on purpose, but we were scheduled to take an exam that following Monday we came back from break. It was dumb and I was stressed out. Coming back Wednesday night and basically reserving Thursday and Friday to family time, didn’t give much leeway for me to study for my exam. On that weekend I do remember going to my local public library to study.

If UIC gave us the week off, it would have given me much more time to relax for a little and then get right back into studying for my exam. My Thanksgiving break wasn’t even a break, it just felt like I was still in school, but doing school at home. I remember that semester, I couldn’t wait until winter break because I just felt so overworked and tired. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that without the spring break or even a solid break in general, students don’t really have that one week of no school to look forward to. However, we do have those random three days throughout the semester where we don’t have class. 

Although it’s one day, I still feel like it isn’t enough time to relax, but also try to catch up on school work. These one day offs don’t really give students the time to recharge. Without some sort of lengthy break, we’re not going to be able to just walk away from Compass, Moodle, or Piazza for a couple of days. 

While I do appreciate that the University is looking to implement these three non-instructional days. I just feel like at some point students are going to feel overworked, overwhelmed, and are never truly going to get a break from school this upcoming spring semester.

Photo courtesy of Illini Union