TU does not provide enough vacation days during the school semesters, and it is a detriment to students.
The University of Tulsa does not provide students with days off that are spaced in a way that students can truly feel rested. Each semester, students are run ragged under constant pressure to work. The only breaks are during the second week of school, when classes have just finished syllabus week and students are still waiting for the semester to begin. It is later that they become worn down and exhausted, nearing burnout from intense schedules. A three-day weekend would provide them the time to relax and catch up on the work they are needing to complete.
The average fall semester looks like this for students at the University of Tulsa: a week of classes, no true homework yet because not enough material has been covered, and then immediately after, a three day weekend due to Labor Day. Everyone is fresh and not fatigued from work. Then, it is time for classes to really gear up as teachers begin getting into the nitty-gritty of lectures and assignments. The first round of tests comes and goes, with no real end date because of the lack of a fall break, and then round two of exams, providing roughly a week of mental reprieve from test prep, then finally fall break! Then, students are back on the grind for a week straight that immediately leads into finals. Of course, we then have winter break, but it’s, rinse and repeat in the spring, this time with Martin Luther King Jr. Day right after the first week of class.
Having the full week for fall break is a blessing for students. It is not something common at other universities, and it is very nice to have so much time with our families, especially for the students who are from out of state and are traveling long distances to see their families.
The issue with this break is how close to the end of the semester it is, which cannot be helped due to the timing of the holiday. We are taking our break and coming back after such a long time, studying really throws students out of the working mindset, and it can be difficult to throw themselves back into the thick of it to finish out the semester.
A true fall break, or an extra day off sometime between Labor Day and Thanksgiving would be a positive change to help prevent burnout in the student body through the long trudge of the semester, even if it means that students go a day or two later in December.
Placed in the middle of the spring semester, spring break allows students to rest. This break provides a clear division of the semester so students don’t feel quite as thrown off their settled routine, and have more time to get back into it before finals begin.
At the end of the day, any decision the university makes regarding our breaks and how they are placed, it is a certainty someone will complain. It is not possible to make everyone happy, but breaks spaced out more evenly throughout the semester or an extra day or two off would be, hopefully, a positive change for the students.