The biggest problems with the start date concern commencement and travel plans for the holidays.
On Aug. 18, I looked at the calendar and thought, why am I not in school? All of my friends from OU and OSU were in class, and even local colleges like TCC were back in session. As I looked outside at the humid heat from the comfort of my air-conditioned room, I was ready for lectures and textbooks.
Once it hits mid-August and suffocating in the Tulsa heat is no longer fun, I am ready to start classes and pull out my sweaters. So imagine my disappointment when I learned I was not going to start classes until Aug. 26, and only have one week of school before Labor Day.
My last final for the Spring semester was April 30. Since I did not start back to school until Aug. 26, I have basically been out of school for four months. Not that I am complaining about the free time, but with all that time off I may have forgotten how to write an essay.
In all seriousness, in August it is so hot in Tulsa that I basically do not want to do anything outside. So sitting inside in a classroom or studying is not difficult. I would much rather have the week before Christmas then a free week in August when all my friends are back in school and I am just waiting for TU to start again.
I am not really sure why TU decided to start so late and not just move the start date up one week. Starting this late means our finals go all the way up to Dec. 19. For graduating seniors, this means that the fall com- mencement is not until Dec. 21, a mere four days before Christmas. If graduating seniors have family who want to see them graduate, it may make the choice of where to spend the holidays difficult.
For example, my oldest sister wants to see me graduate but does not really want to spend Christmas in Tulsa. If my graduation were earlier, then we could spend Christmas in the snowy mountains instead of Tulsa.
Getting out of school so late means that students have less time to travel back home for the holidays, especially if they are traveling a long way. International students who want to go back to their home country for the holidays have only five days before Christmas to travel back. Or if they celebrate Hanukkah, starting on Dec. 22, they have only three days. If the flight and connections are 24 hours, it may make finding flights difficult.
There is also the winter weather to consider when flying back that close to Christmas. If there is a snowstorm in Colorado and a student is heading there for the holidays, the bad weather may make it unsafe to travel back..
For the students who live in town, it makes the free time before the holiday shorter. I usually do not Christmas shop until after my finals so I guess I will be shopping really late this year.
Starting one week before Labor Day also means that we use our one day off until Thanksgiving after only five days of class. It’s nice to have two weeks of class before Labor Day, so I do not feel like I am wasting this day of freedom.
I’m sure there are probably a lot of things that go into choosing the first day of the fall semester, but I do not see why we couldn’t have started one week earlier.