It’s rare to find a university with a full week off for Thanksgiving.
However, it’s not entirely unreasonable and should perhaps be considered by a wellness-centric university.
Thanksgiving falls at a time of year when stress is high because of impending final exams and deadlines.
It should not be a time of stress, which is why a full week off for students to rejuvenate and reconnect with family and friends should not be an unreasonable request.
A full week off for Thanksgiving is not completely unheard of. The University of Georgia and the University of Missouri still recognize the holiday as a reason for a week off.
Even surrounding counties’ public school systems, Hillsborough and Pinellas allow the entire week off for Thanksgiving to give grade-school students a break. Considering Thanksgiving is typically thought of as a time spent with family, not giving the time off for students severely restricts that time and takes away from the holiday, particularly at USF where more than 5,000 students are considered out-of-state students, according to USF’s InfoCenter Student Headcount.
That leaves 5,000 students who may not get to be with their families on Thanksgiving because there’s not enough time to travel and the price of airfare around the holidays isn’t worth just three short days with family.
Those 5,000 students do not include the in-state students who may have established residency but have family out-of-state, the in-state students who may have family in Florida but far north or south of USF or even students whose immediate family is local, but will be traveling for Thanksgiving.
In comparison to the spring semester, USF’s fall semester lacks in providing students with a reasonable break from the stress of school and downtime to visit friends and families. In spring, students are given Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off, as well as an entire week off for Spring Break. In fall, students only have Labor Day, Veterans Day and two days off for Thanksgiving.
Because the university does not provide a fall break, in order to balance out the two semesters the university should only allow students to have Labor Day or Veterans Day off and allow for a week off for Thanksgiving so the semesters are academically parallel and allow students to take a reasonable break.
Students can benefit much more from a full week off for Thanksgiving than they would from a Monday off for Labor Day just a week after the start of the semester.
Many may argue the point that in the real world, employees do not get an entire week off for Thanksgiving, but in the real world, many employees will not be approaching final exams as they balance their lives as full-time students, sometimes with jobs and living far away from a family they miss. A few extra days off shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Ali Leist is a junior majoring in mass communications.